First Exposure

First Exposure is an information hub and research network sharing evidence – based information and recommendations on human exposures to medications, plant and environmental substances and their effects on conception, embryo and fetal development, pregnancy, lactation, and their influences on child development. First Exposure provides easy-to-access, up-to-date information to families and health care practitioners. First Exposure is developing a system to share non-personally identified data with scientists who can conduct research to fill relevant knowledge gaps, thereby improving reproductive and child health outcomes and reducing inequities in health outcomes. 

The program is based at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health through the generous support and vision of the Vohra Miller Foundation

First Exposure’s mandate is to serve Ontario’s 150,000 pregnant individuals and their families each year. Users also include primary healthcare providers including obstetricians, family physicians, pediatricians, midwives, nurses and pharmacists, through which First Exposure will mobilize knowledge generated from its toxicology database to anonymous users in accordance with privacy and security protocols. First Exposure is planning to grow to provide more interactive and personalized services and serve a national audience. 

A Digital Information Resource for Pregnancy and Lactation Safety

First Exposure will improve digital access to crucial health information, focussed on pregnancy, lactation and infant exposures to medications, environmental substances and plant medicines.

Safe access to medication and substance information is needed on pregnancy, lactation and early infancy. It can be a difficult time for pregnant individuals and parents looking for reliable information on potential risks posed to themselves and their infants by a variety of everyday substances such as medications, household products, and pollutants in the air or water. Getting accurate information can be an even greater challenge for those with mental illness, obesity, diabetes and chronic hypertension; or who face income and housing issues; or are in remote and underserved communities with fewer available resources to help guide their decision-making.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA)

First Exposure follows progressive data governance policies respecting Indigenous, Black and 2SLGBTQIA population health research. More information on working with communities towards empowered data governance can be found on the Communities pages. We are proud to be working with the Waakebiness Institute for Indigenous Health, the Black Village Leadership Circle and the 2SLGBTQIA Leadership Circle to build capacity in community-led research and data governance and invite interested researchers, community members and leaders to join us.

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