CITIZEN SCIENCE INFORMATION SHEET
Epidemiological investigations are aimed at studying the state of health of the population and interpreting it in relation to episodes of environmental pollution that have occurred over time. Before even starting an epidemiological study, possible results and policy implications should be discussed among citizens, representatives of local institutions and researchers. Considering beforehand all the possible research results and their implications in terms of public health action plans implies acknowledging the limitations of any epidemiological study, due to unavoidable uncertainties. Playing with an open hand, considering both desirable and less favourable scenarios, is a guarantee toward a transparent decision process when it comes to making policy choices on the basis of the research results.
This tool allows the anticipation of four possible scenarios based on different foreseen research results. It provides a bridge between environmental epidemiology and policy. Indeed, such exercise allows policymakers to appreciate the different aspects of the environmental problem under investigation and its connections with other policy-relevant issues, thus facilitating the choice of the strategies most apt to in the given contingencies.
Read the case study and understand how this tool has been used in a real citizen science project.
CitieS-Health Lucca Pilot
In the CitieS-Health Lucca Pilot, this tool has been used in the second phase of the research, after the definition of the objectives of the epidemiological study. We defined and discussed four scenarios and their respective health policy implications. For each scenario, we reflected on the following questions:
Which results can we foresee?
How can we interpret each set of results?
What policy-actions can we hypothesize?
To acknowledge the limitations of any epidemiological study, due to uncertainties that cannot be totally eliminated
To guarantee transparency in the decision processes