German Environmental Medicine Advisory Committee (GEMAC) established at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

Location 

Berlin, Germany

Reason for initiation

GEMAC is a German health policy ministerial initiative to advise federal institutions from the public health (RKI) and environmental (Umweltbundesamt: UBA) sectors and their overseeing ministries (the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety) on environment-related health issues. GEMAC aims to integrate public health into the policies of environmental sectors through regular reports on emerging topics and research gaps related to health risks/outcomes and national environmental conditions.

Strategies in place or planned

GEMAC delivers statements and recommendations in the fields of the environment and health. It also offers consultations on questions concerning the clinical branch of environmental medicine such as medical care provision, but focuses on population-related and preventive environmental medicine. GEMAC delivers statements and recommendations directly to the federal scientific institutions RKI and UBA.

Outcomes and next steps

Examples of GEMAC statements and recommendations include:

  • research into the "hygiene hypothesis" in the light of environmentally related allergies; 
  • analysis of light-emission spectrum differences between modern lamp technologies and possible health complications;
  • recommendations for climate change and health adaptation measures – a general framework for action for authorities and other actors in Germany.

The current GEMAC period lasts until 2016; the next period will be 2016–2020.

Organization(s) involved 

  • Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety
  • Federal Ministry of Health
  • Robert Koch Institute (RKI)
  • Unweltbundesamt (UBA)