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Healthy Aging and the Environment Initiative

CHE is redesigning our website to be a streamlined, one-stop-shop for environmental health resources, calls, news feeds, and updates. Please look for its release this fall.

In the meantime, you can still view our upcoming and past calls, our related blog posts, or see a searchable calendar with events of interest to this working group.


Join our listserv by sending an email to chehealthyaging-subscribe@lists.healthandenvironment.org

A Story of Health


A Story of Health eBook was featured in four presentations in the last week of October 2015. Dr. Ted Schettler and Maria Valenti presented a webinar to the American Planning Association’s Plan4health national program participants. The program is designed to support creative partnerships between planners and public health professionals at the community level and to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions. Three other presentations were delivered at the EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers 2015 annual meeting in Washington, DC Oct 29-30, which brought together researchers, clinicians, federal government staff and scientists, representatives of professional organizations and others to explore the interplay between research, clinical applications, and policy implications in children's environmental health. Drs. Mark Miller and Marya Zlatnik, and CHE’s Maria Valenti presented two posters on the eBook including a preview of a new story under development on infertility and reproductive health. Dr. Miller also presented during a “translating science” panel on strategies we have used to promote the eBook and CE course and the results. Nearly 1800 health professionals have registered for the CE course offered through CDC/ATSDR.

New multimedia eBook on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

A Story of Health begins with a family reunion that brings you into the lives of fictional people with chronic illnesses that are a serious problem for the health of our nation – asthma, developmental disabilities, cancer, infertility, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Through their stories, you’ll learn the potential causes of these diseases and conditions, and explore prevention strategies.

They are stories about our health as individuals, families and communities.

The stories highlight the many ways our health is affected by the environments where we live, eat, work, play, pray, volunteer, gather and socialize. These stories also illustrate how we can prevent disease and promote health.

This peer-reviewed, interactive eBook includes colorful illustrations and graphics, videos from health and policy experts, links to numerous resources, and more, to help readers navigate the complex world of health.

It can be downloaded FREE and offers FREE Continuing Education credits for health professionals through the CDC.

Visit the Story of Health page and access the first three stories.

Maria Valenti spoke on healthy aging across the lifespan, and conducted an interactive workshop.

Co-sponsored by PSR Wisconsin.  




Nearly 200 Georgians shared ideas on sustainability, heard remarkable stories of environmental stewardship, learned Tai Chi, and enthusiastically welcomed CHE's Maria Valenti's presention on healthy aging and the environment  at the Atlanta Regional Commission's Gray Goes Green lifelong summit held at the Atlanta Botanical Garden  www.atlantaregional



Of Interest:

Community health studies are often requested when a community feels that a local  environmental pollutant has caused illness or death to residents. The Boston University Superfund Research Project (BU SRP) has developed with partners a Health Studies Guide to assist individuals and community groups in understanding community health studies and when they may be valuable. The first four chapters are now available online.


We helped organize a 2 ½ day retreat on “Ecological Health Across the Lifespan”at Commonweal, with participants from a wide range of disciplines including community planning, healthy food, funding, neuroscience, the arts, behavioral epidemiology, social services for elders, architecture, academia, environmental justice, health affected communities, medicine and more. We examined influences on health of the chemical, food, social, built and natural environments, how they interact, and the systems that drive current practices and policies. We discussed strategic interventions in the systems that would have the greatest impact to promote health and wellness across sectors. We developed a “Charter of Interdependence” with key principles that are universal to human and ecological health. A number of collaborative efforts have emerged from the retreat and the group continues to communicate on important issues.

Past Presentations:

September 17 - Atlanta Georgia - Gray Goes Green -  organized by the Atlanta Area Agency on Aging and other partners.

August 1 - Generations United International Conference - Intergenerational Pathways for Strengthening Communities - Washington DC

March 12-13 - Aging in America -  Chicago - Panels on "Safer Chemicals Healthier Aging: Prescriptions for Prevention" March 12 and "Healthy Generations Across the Lifespan" March 13.

Dr. Ted Schettler speaks about environmental determinants of health across the lifespan at Chicago Aging in America conference

Dr. Ted Schettler addresses healthy environments across the lifespan at Chicago "Aging in America," a national conference attended by over 2500 organized by the American Society on Aging.

Maria Valenti discusses the mulitple environmental factors that influence health with (L-R) Kathy Sykes, US EPA Aging Initiative, Medha Chandra, Pesticide Action Network, and Rick Moody, AARP - at Aging in America breakfast. Kathy, Medha and Rick joined with CHE's Ted Schettler and Maria on two panels at the major conference.

March 3-6, 2013 - Environmental Health 2013: Science and Policy to Protect Future Generations- Boston, Massachusetts – We presented a well-received a poster on March 5th at the Boston conference on “Environmental Determinants of Health Across the Lifespan: Opportunities for Health-Promoting Interventions”. CHEworking group leaders on Diabetes (Sarah Howard) and Fertility (Karin Russ) also presented in oral sessions at this event.

Feb 7-9 - New Partners for Smart Growth - Kansas City, MO Feb 7-9 - "Designing Healthy Environments Across Communities and Generations" -

Photo: Kathy Sykes (US EPA), Yolanda Savage-Narva (America Walks) and CHE's Dr. Ted Schettler discuss healthy communities.

CHE's Dr. Ted Schettler and Maria Valenti joined with colleagues including Angela Russell from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Dr. Arthur Wendel from the US CDC, and Leslie Meehan from the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to address ecological health and using the County Health Rankings project  to improve community health to a standing room only crowd of over 100.

Dec 10, 2012 - "Healthy Aging and the Environment" poster Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative Statewide Summit in Newton, MA

CHE partners Dr. Polly Hoppin (L) and Ellie Goldberg in front of CHE poster at the MA Healthy Aging summit

Healthy Aging and the Environment at the 2012 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco

CHE working groups and partners presented on a variety of topics at the recent American Public Health Association Meeting in San Francisco, attended by 12,000 health professionals. Panels included "Healthy Environments Across Generations" and a "Lifecourse Approach to Health." Maria Valenti also helped staff the CHE exhibit booth with other CHE colleagues where we helped describe CHE's programs and projects to many hundreds of APHA attendees.

Dr. Ted Schettler speaks about healthy environments across generations at APHA

International Day of Older Persons

"Rapid population ageing and a steady increase in human longevity worldwide represent one of the greatest social, economic and political transformations of our time.  These demographic changes will affect every community, family and person.  They demand that we rethink how individuals live, work, plan and learn throughout their lifetimes, and that we re-invent how societies manage themselves."   UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon          Read more...

Calling all grandparents to help protect our environment and our health. Join the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition to help your grandkids grow up healthier.

Did you make it to the Healthy Environments Across Generations "unconference" at the New York Academy of Medicine in June? If not, you missed an extraordinary happening. But don't despair!  You can be a part of the next steps to building healthier environments across generations. Contact me at mvalenti@igc.org if you want to join the list serve or hear about potential collaborations across sectors and disciplines.

Dr. Peter Whitehouse, Case Western Reserve University and the Intergenerational School, and Dr. Gail Christopher, the Kellogg Foundation, provide closing thoughts at the New York Academy of Medicine event that brought together over 150 people from across disciplines, sectors and ages to imagine a healthier world for all.


link to the pocket guideHealthy Aging and the Environment: A Pocket Guide. A 16-page illustrated guide to environmental factors that influence health across the lifespan, and how you can help make healthier choices and policies for all.

In the next few decades the number of Americans over 65 will nearly double and they will likely face increased diseases and disabilities unless we prioritize disease prevention across the lifespan.

Environmental factors that affect health include the natural, built, food, chemical, psychosocial and socioeconomic environments. Interventions that address the environmental origins of many diseases can be designed to promote health and also benefit ecosystems. The scientific report Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging describes how modifiable environmental factors are key drivers in today's chronic diseases. It explores how these factors interact with the biology of inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin signaling to promote diseases of the aging such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s - as well as the “Western Disease Cluster,” including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, themselves risk factors for neurodegeneration.

And, how these diseases are being driven by dramatic changes over the past century in the food, built, and chemical environments among others.

link to the Today Show segment

View release on The Today Show on MSNBC website.

Goals of the Initiative

CHE’s Healthy Aging and the Environment Initiative builds on the seminal work instigated by the Healthy Aging publication and continues to develop a set of “ecological” or "systems' approaches to healthy aging.

We have created multiple educational materials that can be downloaded, and have presented at over 100 professional meetings and conferences. We are engaging with people at multiple levels of society and organizations that find common cause with our work, including those focusing on health throughout life as well as decision makers in government, business, and communities. Through a multidisciplinary approach to healthy living, our overarching goal is to educate, inspire and help integrate environmental health principles into mainstream health care and society as a basic approach to promote lifelong health and wellbeing. 

Ted Schettler MD MPH presented on healthy aging and environmental issues atAt right: Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, presented on healthy aging and the environment at
the 2010 annual conference of Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance, Boston.

Slide, Audio and Video Presentations on Healthy Aging and the Environment

Environmental Drivers of Chronic Disease – based on the key findings of the Healthy Aging report - complete with references and speaker notes to enable others to share this information. Supported audio presentation by medical co-author Ted Schettler MD MPH.

Healthy People Healthy Planet – 3-part video series by Jill Stein MD – developed for the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and video taped as part of the Boston University Superfund Research Project’s Environmental Health Nursing Collaborative.

Visit our webpage where you can download the full report, report chapters and presentations.

Other recent presentations you can view include:

Ted Schettler MD MPH “Environment and Health: An Eco-Social Perspective” at the Univ. of MA/Lowell. Watch the video online here.

National Council of Churches webinar - Ted Schettler MD MPH, Maria Valenti - see the NCC website

Aging, Environmental Health, Disabilities 5-part Teleconference Series now archived at AAIDD's teleconference page for materials and recordings of the calls.

Erin Boles, MBCC; Cindy Luppi, CWA, and Maria Valenti meet with Erika Paulhus, staff for MA Senator Scott Brown, on safer chemicals issues

(L-R) Erin Boles, MA Breast Cancer Coalition, Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action and (far right) Maria Valenti meet with Erika Paulhus, staff for Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, on safer chemicals issues

Maria Valenti is the national coordinator of the Healthy Aging and the Environment Initiative of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. Prior to joining CHE in 2010, she served for nearly two decades in leadership positions with Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility where she helped develop and manage national and multi-state environmental health education and training programs including the In Harm’s Way Training Program for Health Professionals, the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit (materials development, pilot study, training program, and online CE course), and Environmental Drivers of Chronic Disease, focusing on healthy aging across the lifespan. She is a co-author of several major peer-reviewed publications including:

Past Calls

September 15, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - The Broad-Spectrum Approach to Cancer Prevention and Therapy: A Complementary, Integrative Clinical Model to Reduce Disease Resistance and Relapse
Background Information/Resources

Listen to the MP3 recording

July 26, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - Fatty Bones Make Bad Skeletons: Influence of Bone-disrupting Chemicals across the Lifespan
Background Information/Resources

Q&A Comments
MP3 recording

July 13, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - TSCA Reform: Understanding the Science, Implementation, and Implications of the New Chemical Safety Act
Background Information/Resources

MP3 Recording

July 7, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - Interactive Effects of Multiple Pesticides on Human Health – A 2016 California Report
Background Information/Resources

MP3 Recording

June 22, 2016 --

Clarifying EMF and Cancer: Precautionary Occupational Strategies and Results of the NTP Cell Phone Studies
Background Information/Resources

RSVP for this Call

May 24, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - The Human Microbiome and Health Effects of Prenatal Microbiome Exposures
Background Information/Resources

MP3 recording

April 5, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - Looking Toward Green Chemistry: A Conversation with a Pioneer in the Field, Dr. Terrence Collins
Background Information / Resources

Listen to the MP3 recording

March 24, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - Neurodegenerative Disease: The Long Term Consequences of Early Life Environmental Exposures
Background Information/Resources

Listen to the MP3 recording

February 5, 2016 --

CHE Partnership Call - Environmental Health Disparities in Children: Breaking the Cycle and Building Resilience for Better Health
Background Information/Resources

Listen to the MP3 recording

July 9, 2015 --

CHE Partnership Call - CHE Cafe call: Tobacco: Science, Policy, and Prospects, A Talk with Stanton Glantz, PhD
Background Information / Resources

Listen to the MP3 recording

July 10, 2014 --

CHE Partnership Call - Breathing Deep: Air Pollution, Health, and Public Health Policy
Background Information / Resources

Call Blog
Listen to the MP3 recording

October 20, 2008 --

CHE Partnership Call - Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging
Background Information / Resources
Call Blog

Download MP3 Recording


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