Podcasts: Global Environmental Health Chat
Global Environmental Health
This podcast series brings to you the knowledge and experiences of people working to understand and combat environmental health problems that reach beyond national boundaries and contribute to the global burden of disease.
- NIEHS Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge (2-part series)
- A Global Network to Advance Children’s Health (2-part series)
- Cookstoves and Indoor Air Pollution (2-part series)
- Health Impacts of Climate Change (3-part series)
- A New Chapter in NIEHS-WHO Collaboration (3-part series)
- Environmental Health and Sustainable Development, with Sir Andrew Haines
- Climate Change and Health Inequalities, with Dr. Gueladio Cisse
- Building India’s Public Health Capacity, with Dr. Rao Aiyagari
- Feeding the World in a Changing Climate, with Dr. Pamela Anderson
- Related NIEHS Podcasts
- Related Links
NIEHS Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge (2-part series)
NIEHS’s Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge focused on creating data visualization tools and maps that connect current science on climate change to the exposure pathways for environmental hazards. The goal was to help decision makers and communities identify areas and people at greatest risk and help to prioritize protective actions.
In this two-part podcast series, we take a look at the four projects awarded first- and second-place prizes in the challenge. Hear about how scientists and communities are using innovative data visualization tools to look at flooding in St. Louis, climate change in the Near West neighborhood of Indianapolis, health and resiliency in San Francisco, and extreme heat nationwide.
Part 1: Visualizing Climate and Health from the National to the Local Level
Julia Gohlke, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of environmental health in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on the human health implications of global environmental change. She uses bioinformatic and alternative model techniques for disseminating the molecular underpinnings of environmental effects on human health. Her laboratory is currently conducting a community-engaged project to determine differences in vulnerability to extreme heat events in urban versus rural settings in Alabama.
Dawen Xie is a senior research associate at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. Xie earned his master’s degree in Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. His interests are Geographic Information System (GIS), visual analytics, information management system, and databases, with a current focus on building different dynamic web applications.
Samarth Swarup, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. He works on problems at the intersection of public health, urban analytics, network science, and artificial intelligence. He develops agent-based models known as synthetic information systems, which are large-scale, high fidelity, data-driven simulation models of human populations and infrastructures. These models are used in the study of topics including disease epidemiology, environmental effects on health, and disaster response.
The team’s visualization tool is called “Populations, Infrastructures, and Exposures Visualization” or PIE Viz, and can be accessed at: Populations, Infrastructures, and Exposures Visualization PIE Viz.
Cyndy Comerford manages policy and planning at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In this capacity, she also is the Director the Health Department’s Climate and Health Program and Health Impact Assessment Program. She has a passion for public sector innovation and policy with expertise in a wide range of complex social issues gained through working in government, the private sector and civic engagement. Her efforts focus on creating healthy and equitable cities with extensive experience in public health, climate change, community design, transportation, healthy housing, human trafficking, and emergency planning. Her work on climate change and health has been recognized by The White House, C40 and presented at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) as concrete city solutions to climate change that can be scaled and replicated across the world.
Her program's visualization tool is called “San Francisco Climate and Health Profile” and can be accessed at: San Francisco Climate and Health Profile.
Part 2: Visualizing Climate, Health, and Flooding
Yi Wang, Ph.D., is assistant professor of environmental health science at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. As an environmental epidemiologist, he works to determine how environmental risk factors including climate change and air pollution affect health at the population level. He is interested in environmental justice and work on projects to increase environmental health literacy in vulnerable populations.
His visualization tool is titled “The Effects of Climate Change on the Future of Local Communities” and can be accessed at: The Effects of Climate Change on the Future of Local Communities.
Amanda Koltz, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology at Washington University. Her research focuses on the cascading effects of climate change on communities and ecosystem functioning. For her doctoral research, she studied the interactive effects of predators and warming on soil food webs and decomposition rates in the Arctic.
Her visualization tool is called “Up with the Waters” and can be accessed at: Up with the Waters.
A Global Network to Advance Children’s Health (2-part series)
Children around the world face serious health consequences from harmful environmental exposures. The Children’s Environmental Health Collaborating Centres Network is a global collaboration among research institutions with a focus on reducing this important health burden. NIEHS is involved in this network as part of the Institute’s role as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. In this podcast series, we explore how the network helps to advance research and interventions to improve children’s health around the world.
Part 1: Dr. William Suk, NIEHS
William Suk, Ph.D., M.P.H., is director of both the Center for Risk & Integrated Sciences (CRIS), and the Superfund Research Program, as well as the chief of the Hazardous Substances Research Branch in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training. He represents NIEHS in the World Health Organization Children’s Environmental Health Collaborating Centres Network and is affiliated with a number of other environmental health organizations and committees. These include: the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; the International Advisory Board of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok, Thailand; and World Health Organization Consultation on Scientific Principles and Methodologies for Assessing Health Risks in Children Associated with Chemical Exposures. He also serves on a number of trans-NIH committees.
Part 2: Dr. Amalia Laborde, M.D., University of the Republic (Uruguay)
Amalia Laborde, M.D., is a professor in the Toxicology Department of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Republic (Universidad de la República) in Uruguay. With a special focus on toxicology and environmental exposures, she practices medicine in the institution's Pediatric Environmental Unit. She works with physicians, researchers, and public health practitioners throughout Uruguay to conduct research and develop interventions to curb childhood lead exposure, problems related to electronic waste, pesticide exposure, and indoor air pollution. As a member of the World Health Organization Children’s Environmental Health Collaborating Centres Network, she collaborates with researchers and practitioners throughout South America and around the world to improve environmental health research and interventions for children.
For More Information
- NIEHS WHO Collaborating Centres Network for Children's Environmental Health Page
- Children’s Health in Latin America: The Influence of Environmental Exposures (a review article by researchers in the network describing a plan for developing the WHO/PAHO strategic initiative in children’s environmental health in Latin America)
Cookstoves and Indoor Air Pollution (2-part series)
Globally, about three billion people use inefficient fires or basic stoves for their daily cooking, lighting, and heating. The smoke from these fires contributes to over 4 million avoidable deaths annually, with women and young children the most affected.
In this 2-part series, experts discuss the health, safety, environmental, and economic implications of solid fuels in low- and middle-income countries. We also consider the goals and challenges of efforts to improve cookstoves to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
Part 1: Dr. Claudia Thompson: NIEHS’s Global Work on Indoor Air Pollution
Claudia Thompson, Ph.D., is the branch chief for the Susceptibility and Population Health Branch in the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) at NIEHS. She joined DERT in 1994 as a program administrator for the Superfund Research Program (SRP) and was also responsible for building the grant portfolio in the areas of biomarker (exposure, effect, and susceptibility) development, metabolic toxicology, chemical mixtures research, and molecular mechanisms of metal toxicity and carcinogenicity. In addition to her branch chief responsibilities, Claudia is a senior advisor to the SRP and provides leadership to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Academic-Community Research Consortium. Prior to joining DERT, she was a research scientist for 10 years in the Laboratory of Biochemical Risk Analysis in the Division of Intramural Research at NIEHS.
Part 2: Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan: Cookstove Challenges
Kalpana Balakrishnan, Ph.D., is a professor of biophysics in the Department of Environmental Health Engineering at Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai, India. She also serves as director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and The Center for Advanced Research on Environmental Health for the Indian Council of Medical Research, Government of India. She has been involved with research concerning air pollution and health in the ambient, household and occupational environments leading several regional efforts in South Asia. She has contributed to several national and international technical assessments concerned with air quality, including the World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines for ambient and household air pollution. She also serves as a Regional Editor for Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of the NIEHS and as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Public Health.
For More Information
- NIEHS Webpage on Cookstoves & Indoor Air
- WHO Fact Sheet: Household Air Pollution and Health
- Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Health Impacts of Climate Change (3-part series)
With rising temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events, and a host of effects on air quality, food supply, and infectious diseases, climate change is projected to have a major impact on human health and well-being. In many places, these effects are already being felt.
In this 3-part series, hear what two recent climate assessments—the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment—say about the health impacts of climate change in the United States and around the globe.
Part 1: Dr. John Balbus: Overview
John M. Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is a senior advisor to the NIEHS Director on public health issues and serves as NIEHS liaison to its external constituencies, stakeholders, and advocacy groups. He serves as HHS principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, for which he also co-chairs the Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health. He was among the lead authors of the health chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment and was a review editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment report. His background combines training and experience in clinical medicine with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, and risk sciences. He has authored studies and lectures on global climate change and health, transportation-related air pollution, the toxic effects of chemicals, and regulatory approaches to protecting susceptible subpopulations.
Part 2: Dr. Alistair Woodward: Focus on IPCC Fifth Assessment
Alistair Woodward, Ph.D., is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He has worked for the World Health Organization throughout the Pacific and contributed to a number of reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He and Kirk Smith led the writing group that prepared the chapter on human health for the 5th assessment. His research interests include climate change, tobacco, radio-frequency radiation and health, and transport and injury. He also serves as an editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Part 3: Dr. Kim Knowlton: Focus on National Climate Assessment
Kim Knowlton, Dr.P.H., is a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environment program and assistant clinical professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. She served as co-convening lead author for the human health chapter of the Third National Climate Assessment and participated in the development of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report. Her work focuses on the health effects of climate change and she has researched heat- and ozone-related mortality and illnesses; connections between climate change and pollen, allergies and asthma, and infectious diseases; the health costs of climate change; and domestic and international climate-health preparedness strategies.
For More Information
- IPCC Fifth Assessment
- National Climate Assessment
- NIEHS Focus on Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change
A New Chapter in NIEHS-WHO Collaboration (3-part series)
With the NIEHS’s recent designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Environmental Health Sciences, the Institute and WHO are celebrating a renewed partnership and looking forward to working together to address pressing global environmental health challenges. In this 3-part series, leaders at the NIEHS and WHO discuss their vision for a fruitful collaboration.
Part 1: Dr. Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS
Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., is director of the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, and the National Toxicology Program. As NIEHS and NTP director, Birnbaum oversees a budget of $730 million that funds biomedical research to discover how the environment influences human health and disease. The Institute also supports training, education, technology transfer, and community outreach. NIEHS currently funds more than 1,000 research grants. A board certified toxicologist, Dr. Birnbaum has served as a federal scientist for nearly 34 years. Prior to her appointment as NIEHS and NTP director in 2009, she spent 19 years at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she directed the largest division focusing on environmental health research. She is the author of more than 600 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and reports.
Part 2: Dr. María Neíra, WHO
María P. Neíra is a Spanish national who holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery (University of Oviedo, Spain) and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Dr. Neíra is the Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization (WHO). Previously, she was President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency and Vice Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs in Spain. Before that, she was Director of the Department of Control, Prevention and Eradication at WHO. Before joining WHO, Dr. Neíra worked as Public Health Adviser in the Ministry of Health in Mozambique and earlier, in Kigali, Rwanda, she was a UN Public Health Advisor/Physician on assignment from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Among other distinctions, Dr Neíra has been awarded the Médaille de l'Ordre national du Mérite by the Government of France.
Part 3: Dr. Luiz Augusto Galvão, PAHO
Luiz Augusto Galvão, a Brazilian national, received his medical degree at the Faculdade de Medicina do ABC. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health with specialization in environmental epidemiology. Dr. Galvão is Chief of the Special Project on Sustainable Development and Health Equity at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization’s regional office for the Americas. He has been involved with the work of PAHO since 1984. Dr. Galvão's professional career includes extensive teaching experience and a vast number of technical publications. He was president of the Brazilian Society of Toxicology and is an active member of several professional associations.
For More Information
- NIEHS-WHO Collaborating Center for Environmental Health Sciences Webpage
- Collaboration between the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Highlights from 30 years of Partnership
Environmental Health and Sustainable Development, with Sir Andrew Haines
As the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approach their 2015 deadline, leaders are considering ways to build upon and expand the successes of the MDGs after 2015. In this podcast, Sir Andrew Haines discusses how the new set of strategies, goals, and indicators can simultaneously improve health and increase sustainability.
Sir Andrew Haines, MBBS, M.D. is Professor of Public Health and Primary Care at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He previously served as Director (originally Dean) of LSHTM for nearly 10 years. An epidemiologist and practitioner of family medicine, Sir Haines has worked internationally in Nepal, Jamaica, Canada, and the United States and been a member of a number of major international and national committees. He is currently a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an interdisciplinary group that provides technical advice on the post-2015 development agenda. He has also been a member of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research and of Working Group 2 of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the second and third assessment reports. He is currently review editor of the health chapter of the IPCC’s fifth assessment report.
For More Information
- NIEHS’s Sustainable Development Website
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network
- Millennium Development Goals: Beyond 2015
- Health in the Green Economy (World Health Organization)
Climate Change and Health Inequalities, with Dr. Gueladio Cisse
Public health infrastructure is extremely fragile in many areas of Africa. Climate change is expected to increase the threat of infectious diseases in the region, and more extreme weather could bring disasters like drought and floods. Dr. Gueladio Cisse explains how these aspects of climate change threaten to further exacerbate health inequalities in Africa.
Dr. Gueladio Cisse is Professor Sanitary Engineering & Environmental Epidemiology and the Project Leader of the Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. With a passion for water and sanitation challenges in Africa, he directs a project focused on water, health, and climate change in four river-adjacent West African cities. Dr. Cisse holds a Ph.D. in Sanitary Engineering and a M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
For More Information
- Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report: Focus on Africa
Building India’s Public Health Capacity, with Dr. Rao Aiyagari
India, the world's second-most populous country, faces a host of public health challenges from infectious diseases to air pollution. Climate change is expected to exacerbate many of these health issues in the coming years. In this episode, we discuss what can be done to build the country's public health capacity and work toward a healthier future.
Dr. Rao Aiyagari is a Senior Advisor for Research and Scientific Operations at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). He is a Mechanical Engineer, an expert in Science Policy Studies and a specialist in the areas of Operations Research, Systems Analysis and Industrial Engineering Problems. At PHFI, Dr. Aiyagari is involved with research policy guidelines for supporting the PHFI research agenda, capacity building and training efforts, and academic management. Dr. Aiyagari has served as Scientific Adviser to the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India for a number of years and has made outstanding contributions towards the promotion of research and development in science and engineering. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering.
For More Information
- Public Health Foundation of India
- GlobalHealth.gov – Focus on India
- Building Global Health Research Capacity(291KB)
Feeding the World in a Changing Climate, with Dr. Pamela Anderson
Climate change could make it harder for farmers to meet the world’s growing food demands. In this episode, we look at the agricultural impacts of climate change and learn what scientists are doing to prepare crops for a future with more heat, drought, and extreme weather.
Dr. Pamela Anderson is Director General of the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. CIP is one of 15 international agricultural research centers in the CGIAR Consortium, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. A leading expert on emerging plant diseases, Dr. Anderson has also conducted research in agricultural entomology and plant virus epidemiology related to food security and income generation for resource-poor populations. Dr. Anderson has worked in Latin America for 30 years and spent two decades working within national agricultural research systems before joining CGIAR.
For More Information
- A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change (Full Report)(4MB)
- International Potato Center
- Metadata Access Tool for Climate and Health (MATCH)
- Panel Highlights Climate Change Science That Can Improve Global Health
Related NIEHS Podcasts
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- EHP Podcast: What Does Climate Change Have to Do With Human Health? with John Balbus
- EHP Podcast: Climate Change and Migration, with Celia McMichael and Jon Barnett
- EHP Podcast: Asbestos Trends Worldwide, with Richard Lemen
- EHP Podcast: The San Antonio Statement, with Åke Bergman
- EHP Podcast: Arsenic and Immune Response to Influenza: Implications for Human Health, with Josh Hamilton
- EHP Podcast: Air Pollution in China, with Junfeng (Jim) Zhang
- EHP Podcast: The Legacy of Waste Couture, with Luz Claudio
- EHP Podcast: Predicting Effects of Climate Change, with Kristie Ebi