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2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20418

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Following up on our recent conversation, enclosed is our proposal to develop a global research agenda to address climate impacts on health. The study will be conducted jointly by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. The National Research Council's Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate has the lead.

The proposal stems from the Climate Research Committee meeting on May 9, where the
evidence was presented that urged more diligent examination of the evidence and
development of an appropriate global research agenda. The NRC Governing Board
endorsed a proposal to establish a study committee if support could be obtained.
The new committee (joint between IOM and NAS) would publish 3 reports: first, a
statement of the problem and cardinal issues; second, an assessment of the state-of-the-
science; and third, a global, multi-disciplinary research strategy. We want to do a thorough
job, separating solid and not-so-solid evidence regarding the purported connection between
climate and health. And, we want a consensus view from the leading thinkers as to what
should be done next. A three-year term for the committee, and two international
workshops, are envisioned.

In order to develop a research agenda that international and national agencies can
implement without delay, the new committee would have to focus itself, I believe, on a
problem with fairly defined bounds. Thus, I think the committee will quickly review all the
weather climate/health issues (including air quality, heat stroke, radiation and cancer, for
example) but narrow its aim to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases." The
specific charge to the new committee should be developed through consultation with the
likes of you, Duane Gubler, Joel Scheraga, and others with a stake in the outcome, and
with NAS and IOM members and staff. The charge could state, for example, that the
committee should survey and assess the evidence for links between climate and health and
develop a global research and information dissemination strategy that goes beyond our
present capabilities. The global strategy should, perhaps, continue investigation of new and
important links between climate and disease, develop information products for health care
providers, integrate observing and modeling technologies, create appropriate

The Netional Research Council is the principal operating agencv of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering

Ms. Claudia Nierenberg


August 28, 1995

surveillance methodologies, and so on. We believe very strongly that many of your interests are involved here, including assignment of useful tasks to the IRICP, targeting of El Niño impacts, bolstering the raison d'etre for GOALS, and providing an opportunity to develop an international program of considerable magnitude on the human dimensions of climate fluctuations.

We have significant interest from very good people who would serve on the panel including Bob Shope, Rita Colwell

, Paul Epstein, Mark Wilson, Tom Karl, Jerry Mahlman, Ed Sarachik, and Eric Barron, to name a few.

The WHO endorses the idea. I am sure I will have no problem engaging the WMO. The international organizations will pay for some travel, provide data, and assist in just about all ways except pay for U.S. travel, meeting costs, salaries, overhead, and supplies. The EPA has already provided $25,000 to keep the planning moving along. Preliminary talks with the NSF indicate they will help support the committee. If NOAAVOGP, along with USAMRIID, EPA, NASA, CDC, and NSF each contribute $75,000 for FY 1996, we can proceed on a firm footing. I am also contacting the State Department and USAID to see if they would co sponsor the study. I have been asked to submit the proposal to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for possible support of one of the two international workshops. My hope is that the agencies just listed will provide the necessary commitment for the first year, and that my continuing efforts to secure funds from private industry and various foundations will reduce the tax on federal agencies. Agency shares of funding would depend on the response to this call for support

I do hope you can participate in the funding of this study. I provide an estimate of $75,000 per year for three years as a suggestion. The full proposal is enclosed. Should it be convenient to do so, the EPA has agreed to collect the funds, and administer the contract on behalf of all agencies. Joel Scheraga (202-260-4029) is the EPA contact.

Your views on the specific guidance and charge to the committee would be very useful in any case. We hope our efforts will benefit the Office of Global Programs' mission.

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