HEALTH & ECOSYSTEMS: ANALYSIS OF LINKAGES (HEAL) represents a global collaboration among leading public health and environmental conservation institutions focused on understanding relationships between the state of ecosystems and public health outcomes.
With planning grants over the past several years from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society organized a series of workshops starting in 2009 that brought together top professionals from the public health and conservation communities.
Through the discussions at these workshops, the assembled experts agreed to collaborate to develop a multi-year proposal for rigorously evaluating if, when, and how “public health” is a measurably important benefit provided by various types of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The research program that resulted from these discussions and workshops is structured as a five-year endeavor, comprised of five ideally concurrent thematic applied research modules and a sixth cross-cutting umbrella module. This timeframe will include planning for and implementation of the research agenda, preliminary analysis and interpretation of study site data, compilation of key findings, and sharing of lessons learned with key stakeholders at a range of relevant scales. The program will work to foster considerable cross-site consultation, coordination of data compilation, sharing of analytic approaches, as well as sharing of “lessons learned” during the life of the project. The modules that have been selected for the initial “Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages” (HEAL) portfolio all address questions of significant policy relevance, a key criterion for this science to policy to action initiative.