Research consortia play a key role in our understanding of how environmental exposures influence health and wellbeing, especially in the case of catastrophic events such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A common challenge that prevents the optimal use of these data is the difficulty of harmonizing data regarding the environmental exposures and health effects across the studies within and among consortia. A review of the measures used by members of the Deepwater Horizon Research Consortia highlights the challenges associated with balancing timely implementation of a study to support disaster relief with optimizing the long-term value of the data. The inclusion of common, standard measures at the study design phase and a priori discussions regarding harmonization of study-specific measures among consortia members are key to overcoming this challenge. As more resources become available to support the use of standard measures, researchers now have the tools needed to rapidly coordinate their studies without compromising research focus or timely completion of the original study goals.