The Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core (IHSFC) of the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) is the central interface between basic scientists, data scientists, epidemiologists, clinical researchers, and public health practitioners. Its mission is to catalyze multidirectional translation of research between diverse model systems, population-based studies, and community partners to advance understanding about the effects of environmental exposures on human health and facilitate use of this information by affected communities to improve public health. The intentional disciplinary diversity of the IHSFC leaders has developed the Core into a highly effective resource for CHHE’s internationally renowned scientists who leverage diverse models for environmental health science (EHS) research, bioinformaticists who integrate data streams from across the health sciences, and epidemiologists and community engagement specialists who are substantively involved in local communities and translating CHHE research to improve public health.
The IHSFC has been highly successful in its goal to establish key translational partnerships and resources and facilitate new and impactful interdisciplinary research connections and community engagement initiatives. Reflection on these successes revealed that a major factor in these connections was access to data science resources for interpreting, linking, and communicating results from basic science experiments through human studies and, ultimately, community engagement. Therefore, in the next funding cycle the previously separate data science efforts have been expanded and integrated into a new IHSFC Environmental Data Science Group (EDSG) that provides Center members clear access to significant data science capabilities. With expertise drawn from the Bioinformatics Research Center and the NC State Libraries, the EDSG component of IHSFC provides best-practices in data management, analysis, and sharing into all Center activities. Additionally, in the next funding cycle the IHSFC will revise its key personnel to accommodate the addition of the EDSG, will establish and extend key programmatic partnerships, and is creating new and enhancing existing resources at NC State and partner institutions. These activities will promote new opportunities for multidirectional translation between basic science, clinical research, and community organizations. The revised IHSFC structure designates Liaisons, or dedicated personnel to identify resources for CHHE members. To facilitate efficient access to these resources, the IHSFC will implement a formal Request Tracking System (RTS) that will interface with our popular CHHE Knowledgebase (CHHEK) of Center resources and expertise.