December sees the re-launch of the open access Journal of Environmental Health Research (JEHR) with contributions by several members of EHRNet. It shows how EHPs are able to research and publish about the effectiveness of their daily work (with their organisation’s permission). Such peer reviewed publications will become increasingly important in contributing to the evidence base in adding to professional standing and credibility as well as helping locate environmental health more prominently in decision making and resource allocation. You are strongly encouraged to write for JEHR, which seeks to support new as well as established writers and the new editor Dr Chris Day would be happy to hear your ideas. If you have an idea for publication, we may be able to help find you a co-author who is working on something similar. We are very well aware that many successful environmental health strategies and interventions never make it to publication, a disservice to the profession. Don’t forget that members of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health are eligible to claim CPD for work like this.
Readers may also be interested in this month’s Perspectives in Public Health journal and in particular the paper ‘The environmental health practitioner: new evidence-based roles in housing, public health and well-being’ written by members of EHRNet, but you do need a subscription to the journal to access it. It seeks to refocus on housing as a social determinant of health and working ever more effectively in the area. Who knows, it may prompt other similar publications in other areas of the profession.
Also on the subject of housing, and as a little aside with the recent news of Nelson Mandela’s passing, I was reminded of something the late Joe Slovo, the then new Minister of Housing said in 1994 at South Africa’s National Housing Summit: “We could have talked about the facts and figures of South Africa’s housing and talked about the number of new families entering the market every year. But numbers don’t tell even half the story. We would have been discussing in a vacuum, divorced from the people and places we aim to serve … Housing is a physical requirement. But it is also much more – it is a spiritual need which goes to the root of a dignified and a tolerable life. It is at the core of a better life for all South Africans”.
This quote remains a powerful inspiration and a constant reminder that we all need to keep working toward reducing inequality and inequity, and environmental health seems a very good place to start.
With Season’s Greetings,