A Story of Childhood Leukemia, a Story of Health: Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Childhood Leukemia

January 22, 2015
09:00 am US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker presentation slides:

Dr. Schettler: A Story of Health: Poster presented at PPTox 2014 - Download the PDF

Dr. Miller: A Story of Childhood Leukemia: Stephen's Story: Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors for Childhood Leukemia - Download the PDF

Dr. Metayer: Environmental Risk Factors of Childhood Leukemia - Download the PDF

Dr. Wiemels: Role of Infection on the Etiology of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - Download the PDF

A Story of Health - Download the eBook, learn about continuing education credits, and sign up to receive updates.

Additional resources of interest:

PSR: Environmental Health Policy Institute: Childhood Leukemia: An Ounce of Prevention

Listen to Recording

This call introduced the new A Story of Health illustrated, multimedia eBook that harnesses the power of stories to explore the multiple influences on our health across the lifespan.

Childhood leukemia is a rare cancer but it has been increasing in incidence each year - 55% in the 35 years between 1975 and 2010. Why? Join experts from the University of California, Berkeley CIRCLE center (Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Cancer) as we examine the genetic and environmental risk factors for childhood leukemia through the life of Stephen, a three-year-old boy whose parents have just been told that he has leukemia. Leukemia can be an overwhelming diagnosis for a family, even though survival rates have increased dramatically during the past 50 years. Stephen’s story delves into the complex variables that may contribute to the onset of leukemia, and also looks at protective factors and actions families and society can undertake to reduce risks. CIRCLE scientists contributed significantly to Stephen’s story, including via 10 original videos on topics including residential exposures to pesticides and the risk of leukemia, exposure to infections and leukemia, flame retardant and PCB exposures from house dust, and the importance of the timing of environmental exposures, including both pre-and post-natal. Several of these topics will be discussed more in-depth during this discussion.

This call marks the official release of A Story of Health, which is now available for download. A Story of Health includes multiple levels of detail accessible to readers from health professionals to health advocates, policymakers to health and science media. In this first installment of our science-based “graphic novel,” we follow the lives of two other fictional characters in addition to Stephen: Nine-year-old Brett from Southern California, who has asthma, and; Amelia, a small-town Louisiana teen with developmental disabilities. A Story of Health features numerous original illustrations, videos from science experts, pop-ups with key-concepts, links to additional resources, and references linked to scientific papers--pages filled with information you can use. 

The eBook will offer FREE continuing credits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Featured Speakers

Mark Miller, MPH, MD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is also the Director of the UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) and the director of the Children’s Environmental Health Program at the California Environmental Protection Agency. He received his medical degree and completed a Pediatric residency at Michigan State University. He is a co-author of A Story of Health.


Catherine Metayer MD, PhD, is Associate Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. She is the Principal Investigator of the California Childhood Leukemia Study and the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE), a federally funded Program Project for a Children's Environmental Health Center in the United States. She is also the Chair of the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium Studies (CLIC), and leads several pooled analyses with over 10 case-control studies worldwide. Dr. Metayer's research portfolio focuses on the associations between genetic factors, environmental exposures, birth characteristics, medical conditions, and vitamin supplementation and the risk childhood leukemia. 

Joseph Wiemels, PhD, is Professor, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco. Following his doctoral training in toxicology, epidemiology, and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Wiemels studied the etiology of childhood leukemia in London, UK. He then joined the UC Laboratory for Molecular Epidemiology in late 1999, and works on the epidemiology and etiology of childhood leukemia and adult brain cancer. Dr. Wiemels primary research interest is discovering the timing and mechanisms of chromosomal translocations associated with leukemia, and he has received NIH funding for the project, "Backtracking Translocations to Birth."

The call was moderated by Ted Schettler MD, MPH, Science Director of both the Science and Environmental Health Network the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. He is also a co-author of A Story of Health.