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Your Environment. Your Health.

Podcast Archive: Global Environmental Health Chat

Air Pollution, Climate Change, and Health in India (2 Part Series)

Like many developing countries, India faces many adverse impacts from climate change and poor air quality, which present significant challenges for public health. For example, poor air quality is known to be linked with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Changes in climate can influence temperature, precipitation patterns, and air quality, which can increase the incidence of vector-borne diseases, heat stress, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as increase food insecurity through impacts on agriculture.

Part 1: Local Perspective

December 21, 2017

Sujata Saunik

Sujata Saunik serves as the Principal Secretary of Financial Reforms and is the former Principal Secretary of the Public Health and Family Welfare Department for the Government of Maharashtra, India. She has Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Social Sciences. She is currently a Takemi Fellow at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.

Saunik leads state projects on designing governing architectures and policy frameworks for effective, transparent, and seamless disbursement of funds and tracking expenditures against department‐specific outcome indicators, enabling higher fiscal efficacy. She has also worked on multiple projects that involve community health. These projects include efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene, remove plastic waste in community villages, and provide safe drinking water in poor communities. Saunik also has research experience in topics such as public health management and child and infant mortality.

Meena Sehgal

Meena Sehgal is as an epidemiologist and data analyst with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI). She has Master’s degrees in Public Health and Biostatistics from Emory University. Sehgal has 22 years of experience in data analysis, processing, and interpretation.

Sehgal leads a team of research professionals working on environmental assessments and evaluating human health effects. Her areas of focus include climate sensitive health risks and emerging issues of urban development and human health. Sehgal has published research on ozone pollution and its health effects in India. She also works with Understanding Climate and Health Associations in India (UCHAI) to understand and access risk of urban environmental contaminants in India.

Part 2: NIEHS Perspective

February 15, 2017

John Balbus

John Balbus, M.D., directs the NIEHS – World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and co-chairs working groups on Climate Change and Human Health at NIH and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. His background combines clinical medicine with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, and risk sciences, particularly related to climate change and public health.

Balbus has served as a lead author on health for the past two U.S. National Climate Assessments, and is co-author of the HHS guide document “Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate.” In addition, 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.

Sri Nadadur

Srikanth Nadadur, Ph.D., is a Program Director for the Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety and air pollution cardiopulmonary health and Trans-NIH research program on Countermeasures against chemical threat agents at the division of extramural research and training, NIEHS. Nadadur has more than 25 years of research experience in molecular biology and toxicology.

Nadadur served as the first NIEHS U.S. Embassy Science Fellow in India. The fellowship included working with interagency colleagues to promote health systems and preparedness in India regarding urban air quality. Through this fellowship, Nadadur helped establish a community of air quality and health researchers in India with leading researchers in the U.S.

Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)

December 23, 2016

Jerry Heindel, Ph.D.

Jerry Heindel, Ph.D., (retired), is a Program Administrator who has worked to develop DOHaD at NIEHS. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Michigan and worked in the area of reproductive biology and toxicology while on the faculty at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the University of Mississippi before coming to NIEHS to head its reproductive and developmental toxicology group. In 1993, he moved to the Division of Extramural Research and Training at NIEHS where he is a scientific program administrator and responsible developing and administering the NIEHS grants program in endocrine disruptors, developmental basis of diseases, reproductive toxicology, and obesity.

Mark Hanson

Mark Hanson, D.Phil, is a founder member and current President of the International Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Hanson is the Director of the Institute of Developmental Sciences and British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Science at the University of Southampton, UK, where his research is focused on aspects of development and health. He is particularly interested in how the environment during development, including nutrition and toxic chemicals, can affect the risk of non-communicable diseases and identifying early markers of risk to inform intervention strategies. His work explores the underlying biological mechanisms, including epigenetic processes, which relate to such risks in both developed and developing countries.

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

April 25, 2016

Julia Gohlke, Ph.D.
The PIE Viz team includes (from left) Dawen Xie, Julia Gohlke, and Samarth Swarup.

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

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

April 25, 2016

Yi Wang, Ph.D.

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.
(Photo courtesy of James Byard, WUSTL Photos)

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

April 20, 2015

Suk William Headshot Image

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)

April 20, 2015

Amalia Laborde Headshot Image

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.

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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

August 14, 2014

Dr. Claudia Thompson

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

August 14, 2014

Dr. Kalpana Balakrishnan

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.

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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

August 14, 2014

Dr. John Balbus

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

August 14, 2014

Dr. Alistair Woodward

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

August 14, 2014

Dr. Kim Knowlton

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.

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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.

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

February 19, 2014

Dr. Linda Birnbaum

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

February 19, 2014

Dr. María Neira

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

February 19, 2014

Dr. Luiz Augusto Galvão

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.

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Environmental Health and Sustainable Development, with Sir Andrew Haines

September 18, 2013

Featured Expert

Sir Andy Haines

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.

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Climate Change and Health Inequalities, with Dr. Gueladio Cisse

September 18, 2013

Dr. Gueladio Cisse

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.

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Building India’s Public Health Capacity, with Dr. Rao Aiyagari

May 17, 2013

GEH Podcast - Dr. Rao Aiyagari

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.

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Feeding the World in a Changing Climate, with Dr. Pamela Anderson

May 17, 2013

Geh Podcast Dr. Pamela Anderson

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.

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