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BARD CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY EXAMINES GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES AND HUMAN HEALTH ON FEBRUARY 22 Open Forum Series Continues with Panel of Renowned Health Experts, Including Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Chivian

Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The effects of changes to the global environment—from the rapid loss of animal and plant species, the deposition of toxic chemicals, the depletion of the ozone layer, and global warming—are combining with decades of industrial pollution to have a pronounced impact on human health. Physicians and medical researchers are increasingly calling attention to health risks from the environment, especially to children, who are often more heavily exposed than adults to these changes.

On Thursday, February 22, the Bard Center for Environmental Policy is hosting an Open Forum with a distinguished panel of health experts who will explore the impact of global environmental changes on human health. The forum, which is free and open to the public, takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center on the Bard College campus. A reception with the panelists will follow the discussion.

\"It is crucial for people to have accurate information about these topics. Only by better distinguishing the real dangers from speculation will people understand the relevance of international environmental agreements, the policies of a new presidential administration, and proposed actions on water quality, environmental cleanups, and industrial emissions that may affect their own lives,\" says Joanne Fox-Przeworski, director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and former director for North America of the United Nations Environment Programme. \"The panelists can speak with exceptional authority to the potential health risks from loss of biological diversity, climate change, and toxins in our water and air.\"

About the panelists:

Eric Chivian, M.D., is the founder and director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University, the first center at a medical school in the U.S. to focus on the human health dimensions of global environmental change. He is a cofounder of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He has been a consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office on Environmental Policy. Senior editor and author of the book Critical Condition: Human Health and the Environment, Dr. Chivian is leader of the project on biodiversity and its importance to human health, carried out under the auspices of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health and associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. He is the principal investigator on a joint project with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water that focuses on risk assessments for drinking-water contaminants. He is also leading research on a new environmental health specialty unit for children. He has served as technical consultant and author for the UNEP project on global climate change and on the U.S. Country Studies program.

Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., is Ethel H. Wise Professor and chair of the Department of Community and Preventative Medicine and director of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He also directs the Mount Sinai Center for Children’s Health and the Environment. As senior adviser to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he was responsible for setting up the new Office of Children’s Health Protection. Dr. Landrigan chairs the Asbestos Advisory Board and the Advisory Council on Lead Poisoning Prevention for the State of New York. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Felicia Keesing is assistant professor of biology at Bard. Last spring, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at a White House ceremony. A visiting scientist at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, she researches the impacts of habitat fragmentation in the U.S. and Kenya.

The Open Forum series is sponsored by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy as part of its commitment to make current and important environmental issues more accessible to the general public. Through education, research, and public service, the Center, established in 1999, addresses local and global policy issues pertaining to the natural and built environments. At the Center’s core is the graduate program leading to a master of science degree or professional certificate in environmental policy. The fourth Open Forum in the 2000-2001 series, \"Global Environmental Changes and Food,\" a joint program with the Culinary Institute of America, will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2001.

Reservations are requested for the forum. Call 845-758-7071 or e-mail for further information.

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This event was last updated on 05-21-2003