International Joint Commission
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board's
Workgroup on Ecosystem Health

Workshop on Methodologies
for Community Health Assessment
in Areas of Concern

Wednesday, October 4,
Thursday, October 5, 2000

MacDonald-Cartier Room, Radisson Hotel
333 Riverside Drive West
Windsor, Ontario

In the past decade, as a result of significant investments by the United States and Canadian governments in Great Lakes environmental health research, there has been a new appreciation of the injury to human health from exposures to persistent toxic substances, particularly from the consumption of Great Lakes fish. Of particular concern are the irreversible changes in fetal developmental processes as a result of material consumption of Great Lakes fish prior to and during pregnancy. These changes include deficits in neurological development resulting in alterations in cognitive functioning and in behaviour, as well as changes in the development of the immune system. The challenge for the researchers, managers and policy makers has been in formulating and implementing an appropriate response to the extensive evidence of continuing injury to community health, given the complexity of the array of interests that seemingly must be considered.

Health Canada recently released a series of reports on the health data and statistics for the 17 Areas of Concern on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. These reports have indicated the incidences of diseases in these particular communities and compared these with the incidence rates for the Province of Ontario. Based on these reports, the International Joint Commission, as advisors to the two governments concerning the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, asked its Great Lakes Science Advisory Board to provide advice on developing a methodology for assessing community health in relation to exposures to persistent toxic substances, articularly in Areas of Concern.

The Great Lakes Science Advisory Board's Workshop on Methodologies for Community Health in Areas of Concern will be held in Windsor on Wednesday and Thursday, October 4-5, 2000 at the Radisson Hotel, 333 Riverside Drive West, Windsor (Phone: 519/977-9777). A block of rooms for the nights of October 3 and 4 in the name of International Joint Commission has been reserved. The government rate for the room is $99 (plus taxes).