Evidence-based Advocacy to Protect Children's Environmental Health: A Discussion of the Latest Science with Dr. Ruth Etzel

March 12, 2014
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Over the past four decades, the prevalence of autism, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes and birth defects has grown substantially among children around the world. Not coincidentally, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been developed and released into the global environment during this same period. Today the World Health Organization attributes 36 percent of all childhood deaths to environmental causes. Because children are exquisitely sensitive to their environment, exposure during their developmental “windows of susceptibility” can trigger cellular changes that lead to disease and disability across the life span. On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, Dr. Ruth A. Etzel, co-editor of the Textbook of Children’s Environmental Health provided an update on the mounting scientific evidence linking pediatric disease with environmental exposures.

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RuthEtzelRuth Etzel, MD, PhD, has a broad background in public health, with specific training and expertise in pediatrics, preventive medicine and children’s environmental health. After completing a residency in pediatrics, Dr. Etzel was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During 20 years as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service, Dr. Etzel served in a variety of public-sector leadership positions including US CDC (founding chief of the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch), US Department of Agriculture (director of the Division of Epidemiology and Risk Assessment) and US Indian Health Service (research director at the Alaska Native Medical Center). Dr. Etzel is the founding editor of Pediatric Environmental Health (a 3rd edition was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011). This influential book has helped to train thousands of doctors who care for children about how to recognize, diagnose, treat and prevent illness in children from hazards in the environment. She has worked extensively with international organizations to educate health professionals about environmental health and to build their capacity to conduct environmental investigations. From 2009 to 2012 she served as the senior officer for environmental health research in the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The call lasted for one hour and was recorded.