Halpern David

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  • Article
    Framework for a community health observing system for the Gulf of Mexico Region: preparing for future disasters
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-10-15) Sandifer, Paul ; Knapp, Landon ; Lichtveld, Maureen ; Manley, Ruth ; Abramson, David ; Caffey, Rex ; Cochran, David ; Collier, Tracy K. ; Ebi, Kristie ; Engel, Lawrence ; Farrington, John W. ; Finucane, Melissa ; Hale, Christine ; Halpern, David ; Harville, Emily ; Hart, Leslie ; Hswen, Yulin ; Kirkpatrick, Barbara ; McEwen, Bruce F. ; Morris, Glenn ; Orbach, Raymond ; Palinkas, Lawrence ; Partyka, Melissa ; Porter, Dwayne ; Prather, Aric A. ; Rowles, Teresa K. ; Scott, Geoffrey ; Seeman, Teresa ; Solo-Gabriele, Helena M. ; Svendsen, Erik ; Tincher, Terry ; Trtanj, Juli ; Walker, Ann Hayward ; Yehuda, Rachel ; Yip, Fuyuen ; Yoskowitz, David ; Singer, Burton
    The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) region is prone to disasters, including recurrent oil spills, hurricanes, floods, industrial accidents, harmful algal blooms, and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The GoM and other regions of the U.S. lack sufficient baseline health information to identify, attribute, mitigate, and facilitate prevention of major health effects of disasters. Developing capacity to assess adverse human health consequences of future disasters requires establishment of a comprehensive, sustained community health observing system, similar to the extensive and well-established environmental observing systems. We propose a system that combines six levels of health data domains, beginning with three existing, national surveys and studies plus three new nested, longitudinal cohort studies. The latter are the unique and most important parts of the system and are focused on the coastal regions of the five GoM States. A statistically representative sample of participants is proposed for the new cohort studies, stratified to ensure proportional inclusion of urban and rural populations and with additional recruitment as necessary to enroll participants from particularly vulnerable or under-represented groups. Secondary data sources such as syndromic surveillance systems, electronic health records, national community surveys, environmental exposure databases, social media, and remote sensing will inform and augment the collection of primary data. Primary data sources will include participant-provided information via questionnaires, clinical measures of mental and physical health, acquisition of biological specimens, and wearable health monitoring devices. A suite of biomarkers may be derived from biological specimens for use in health assessments, including calculation of allostatic load, a measure of cumulative stress. The framework also addresses data management and sharing, participant retention, and system governance. The observing system is designed to continue indefinitely to ensure that essential pre-, during-, and post-disaster health data are collected and maintained. It could also provide a model/vehicle for effective health observation related to infectious disease pandemics such as COVID-19. To our knowledge, there is no comprehensive, disaster-focused health observing system such as the one proposed here currently in existence or planned elsewhere. Significant strengths of the GoM Community Health Observing System (CHOS) are its longitudinal cohorts and ability to adapt rapidly as needs arise and new technologies develop.
  • Article
    Technological developments since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
    (Oceanography Society, 2021-06-30) Dannreuther, Nilde Maggie ; Halpern, David ; Rullkötter, Jürgen ; Yoerger, Dana R.
    The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) funded research for 10 years following the Deepwater Horizon incident to address five themes, one of which was technology developments for improved response, mitigation, detection, characterization, and remediation associated with oil spills and gas releases. This paper features a sampling of such developments or advancements, most of which cite studies funded by GoMRI but also include several developments that occurred outside this program. We provide descriptions of technological developments, including new techniques or the novel application or enhancement of existing techniques, related to studies of the subsurface oil plume, the collection of data on ocean currents, and oil spill modeling. Also featured are developments related to interactions of oil with particulate matter and microbial organisms, analysis of biogeochemical processes affecting oil fate, human health risks from inhalation of oil spill chemicals, impacts on marine life, and alternative dispersant technologies to Corexit®. Many of the technological developments featured here have contributed to complementary or subsequent research and have applications beyond oil spill research that can contribute to a wide range of scientific endeavors.