The Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) is an international resource that promotes the broad understanding of health effects associated with environmental and occupational chemical exposures. Through its six Divisions, EOHSI supports basic and clinical research in environmental health sciences and environmental exposure measurement and assessment, provides graduate training programs for Ph.D. and postdoctoral students and medical residents, supports an occupational medicine clinic, provides educational programs for various professional and non-professional groups, outreach to affected communities, and the development of public health policies related to environmental issues.
While grounded in traditional approaches to environmental health problems, the research endeavors and programs of EOHSI recognize the increasing urgency of addressing the complexities of environmental health issues: understanding, for example, that chemical exposures,whether environmental or occupational, occur to mixtures of chemicals rather than to individual agents, and that such exposures occur in the context of numerous other potential risk-modifying physiological and environmental factors, such as genetic background, gender, stress, developmental period of exposure and diet. These other co-occurring risk factors may enhance or mitigate the effects of chemical exposures, and do so in a dynamic fashion across the life span. As such, studies recognizing interactions and mixtures may have marked significance not only for evaluating the efficacy of risk assessment paradigms, but also for the determination of public policies, and, as such, are critical to the future of environmental health sciences.
Institutes such as EOHSI, with its broad base of faculty expertise, its ability to carry out basic and human and experimental studies as well as exposure measurement and assessment, coupled with our capabilities in education and public policy, is uniquely poised to lead in such efforts.