Terms of Reference

The AMS' Board on Environment and Health advances the understanding of Earth's environmental influences on human health. We view these interactions through the spatial and temporal domains of our science. Our vision is a world where connections between the physical and biological macrocosms are accurately identified, and where decision-makers (including the general public) apply such knowledge to make informed decisions, ultimately leading to better human health.

To achieve these outcomes, we work on research, application, education/training, and communication activities to foster new understanding and improve societal well-being. As the intersections between the physical and biological sciences are expansive, so too is the Board's reach. Our areas of interests span throughout the weather and climate enterprise (WCE) - sharing subject interests with many American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) Boards and Committees. Further, given that over two-thirds of the planet's fluid flows occur above the mantle (i.e., the hydro-meteorological domain), and that all living creatures are influenced by them and also interconnected to each other, the Board addresses connections within the oceanic and atmospheric spatial domains over climatological, meteorological, and sometimes geological time scales. Thus, the Board reflects a "One Health" approach that recognizes the interconnections among the health and well-being of ecosystems, plants, animals and humans. Outside of the WCE, we serve as a bridge between the hydro-meteorology and public health/medical sectors, and foster outreach to key decision-makers and general public. Building on a key founding principle of the AMS, namely that public health is one of six critical disciplines for collaboration to improve societal benefits, the Board's activities aim to raise the level of contributions that inter-disciplinarily among the health, physical, biological, and social sciences can deliver.

Examples of potential health topics that we address (yet are not limited to) include:

  1. vector borne diseases;
  2. waterborne illness;
  3. ocean health and chemistry; 
  4. health effects of dust and aeroallergens;
  5. solar radiation;
  6. extreme temperatures and precipitation;
  7. seasonal human diseases,
  8. veterinary medicine; and
  9. weather extremes and healthcare infrastructure.

The Board is guided by the objectives of the Society. To that end, the Board will plan technical programs for conferences, seminars, symposia, policy study series and workshops; prepare or suggest the preparation of papers, reviews, handbooks, and statements for publication by the Society; and coordinate activities in this field both within the Society and with other groups.

In particular, the Board will

  1. Develop effective partnerships and scientific collaboration,
  2. Support our public health (and medical) partners in developing accurate and timely surveillance and preparedness systems,
  3. Contribute to joint-disciplinary public communications about environmental adaptation, early warning, and disaster risk reduction,
  4. Encourage activities that produce socio-economic benefit and other returns-on-investment for research and applications in environment and health interactions,
  5. Suggest K-12 curricula development ideas, and
  6. Promote training opportunities for early-career specialists.

These objectives will be met, in part, by:

  1. Coordinating with and co-sponsoring scientific meetings at intersections of mutually shared interests with other AMS Commissions, Boards and Committees, including but not limited to:
    1. Scientific and Technological Activities Commission's (STAC) " Board on Atmospheric Biogeosciences to explore atmospheric-biospheric interactions on agriculture and forestry as it relates to health; " Board on Societal Impacts for disaster risk reduction and health safety issues; " Board on Urban Environment for matters on air quality, and urban policy and planning as it relates to health and safety, and environment/human health co-benefits; " Committee on Climate Variability and Change regarding climate model application for health, working with social science communities to communicate information; and " Committee on Space Weather concerning solar flare impacts for flight crew and passenger health in addition to protective measures for hospitals and health care facilities. " Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting on improving forecast accuracy for environment and health applications, and increase public understanding and perception on the utility of these forecasts for their daily lives.
    2. Commission on the Weather and Climate Enterprise's (CWE) " Board on Enterprise Economic Development (BEED) to design cross-sector workshops to discuss critical issues in environment and health, and to open opportunities for the public and private sectors; " Board on Enterprise Planning (BEP) to deepen exploration for activities to deepen Enterprise engagement on health; " Board on Enterprise Communication (BEC) for collaborations in engaging the Enterprise on health-related issues that are of a short- or immediate -term interest to the community.
    3. Commission on Professional Affair's (CPA) " Board of Broadcast Meteorology to work public dissemination of environment and health information.
    4. Extramurally in association with other professional societies, foundations, and international leaders, for example, " American Public Health Association (APHA) the nation's oldest public health organization. " American Red Cross (ARC) the Nation's premier response organization " American Hospital Association (AHA) a group that represents hospitals and clinics " Clinton Foundation which has several Initiatives that to identifiy and implement innovative solutions to address the world's chronic problems, like environmental quality and access to resources. " International Red Cross and Red Cresent (ICRC) the worldwide provider of humanitarian relief " Gates Foundation, which has activities in health, and has potential to use hydro-meteorological data to improve its applications " Google Foundation the philanthropic arm of Google.Inc that focuses on technology as a medium to send useful information to the global public " Pew Foundation's Environmental Health division which is interested in air and water quality issues on health " Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) a leading National foundation to improve the health and healthcare of all Americans ("to help society transform itself for the better') " World Health Organization (WHO) the international organization for national public health services " World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the international organization for national hydro-meteorological services
  2. Promoting a results-oriented environment and outcomes through collaboration with internal AMS offices and groups like the AMS Policy Program (e.g., policy study series, Congressional Briefings, AMS Summer Policy Colloquium), AMS Education (e.g., climate/weather/water book materials and other activities), and AMS Meetings (e.g., to organize specialty meetings and sessions at the Annual Meeting).
  3. Nominating deserving individuals and organizations for appropriate Society awards.
  4. Writing AMS Information and Policy Statements when needed and appropriate to serve as the Society's collective voice on a subject that informs our Members, policy-makers, media and general public.