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Environment
Section Newsletter
Winter 2007

Message from the APHA Environment Section Chair

 

As a follow up to the Annual Meeting in Boston, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the meeting and the activities that have been evolving since then.  Section members were quite busy during the meeting, debating environmental health issues throughout every hallway and corner of the Convention Center and our scientific and business sessions.  Two of the most pressing issues that emerged from the Convention included climate change and healthy food systems.  Section members conveyed a sense of urgency for the Section to collaborate closely with APHA and other leading organizations both domestically and abroad and at various levels of government to address these time-sensitive public health issues.  As a step in that direction, the Section created two subcommittees to develop work plans on these issues over the course of the year, including strategies to update the current policy resolution on climate change that was last updated in 1995 and to develop a position paper on healthy food systems to be submitted to APHA in March 2007. 

 

Dr. Paul Epstein was awarded the Homer Calver Award, the Section’s most prestigious award that honors public health professionals in the field of environmental health that have demonstrated leadership in public environmental health.  Dr. Epstein, who is the associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, talked with the Section and others attending the luncheon on the causes and consequences of climate change and laid out a blueprint for how public environmental health professionals can move to action by weighing in on national strategies to reduce carbon emissions and inserting ourselves into the policy debate to promote sustainable development.  To learn more about Dr. Epstein’s work, please visit his Web site at http://chge.med.harvard.edu/index.html. 

 

At the meeting, the Environment Section celebrated its 95th anniversary as an APHA section of the American Public Health Association.  It was an exciting milestone for all.  The Section was thrilled to be honored by the Association at its annual award ceremony and was moved to think towards the future and specifically the Section’s 100th Anniversary.  The Section agreed to begin planning for this auspicious milestone and established the 2011 Committee to celebrate 100 years of environmental public health and develop a scientific and social agenda for the 2011 Annual Meeting that highlights the accomplishments of environment public health over the past century and the future challenges that we will face both at home and abroad.  Please contact Leyla McCurdy if you are interesting in working on this committee.  Leyla can be reached by e-mail at mccurdy@neetf.org.

 

On the horizon is the upcoming Mid-Year Section Meeting to be held in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2007 from 11-5 p.m.  For those of you outside the DC area, we will provide access via teleconference for a portion of the meeting.  At that meeting, we will have the opportunity to connect with key APHA staff on policy and advocacy, section fundraising, student involvement, membership and other Section committee issues.  Meeting logistics and an agenda will be forthcoming. 

 

Finally, I want to acknowledge our contributors who have helped support the Section over the years and specifically through grants and donations.  Such support has helped strengthen our programs and events at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year!  Specifically, I want to thank the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and specifically the National Center for Environmental Health; the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, the Food Service and Packaging Institute, Inc., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and most recently the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Texas, through contributions in support of our student scholarship fund.

As always, if you are interested in joining one of the Environment Section’s active committees or have any questions or concerns, please contact any Section officer for more information or contact me by email.

Best Wishes for 2007,

Jill Litt, chair, Environment Section, assistant professor at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center jill.litt@uchsc.edu

Note from Environment Section Communications Chair/E-News Editors

It is my pleasure to be serving as the new secretary and E-News editor for the Environment Section.  If there are ideas you would like to share for improving communication within the Section or between our Section and APHA, please contact me.  Exciting new features have arrived in the APHA communications system, including the E-communities listserv, the E-communicate news blast, and the new APHA Web site and Section home page.  We can tailor the look of our homepages, so please send ideas for what photos or pictures you would like to see representing the Environment Section.

We want to hear what you or your organization are working on, or interesting news or opportunities that you know of.  Please send ideas for contributions to the APHA Environment Section e-newsletter to Andrea.Wismann@uchsc.edu.  Dates for 2007 E-newsletter submission are May 15 and August 15.  The submission deadlines will also be publicized through the APHA monthly e-newsletters for the two months prior to deadline.  A final notice is then sent to the Section’s primary members about a week in advance of the deadline by APHA at our request. 

Submitted by: Andrea Wismann, MSPHc, communications chair and E-News editor Andrea.Wismann@uchsc.edu.

Highlights from the APHA 2006 Annual Meeting, Boston

GLOBAL WARMING – “IT’S WORSE THAN YOU THINK”

 

These were the opening words of the 37th Calver Lecture at the APHA meeting in Boston.  Paul Epstein, MD, MPH delivered an outstanding lecture entitled Global Warming – Health and Human Rights, during the Environment Section’s flagship conference event.

 

The Environment Section sponsors the Homer N. Calver Lecture series each year.  It showcases a speaker from the geographic area where the APHA Annual Meeting is held.  A special feature of the Calver Series is that the topic represents late breaking issues, emerging technology, and sometimes controversial issues in environmental health.  Environmental impact due to global warming certainly fits this description.

 

Dr. Epstein’s remarks were accompanied by a powerful and graphic presentation of planetary impacts.  He also recognized several changes which have only occurred in just the last five years.

 

For example, findings show that the oceans absorb 22 times more heat than that absorbed by the atmosphere.  Urban centers keep a higher temperature (about 7 degrees) compared to rural areas, contributing to the “CO2 dome” effect.  Per barrel prices of oil have increased primarily due to dependence on oil life cycle cost (exploration, storage, pipelines, production, etc.).  Warmer climates and temperatures contribute to 1 million malaria deaths per year:  3,000 children in Africa alone.  These global changes also influence storm activity (Katrina, Rita, Wilma) and other effects such as a severe wind storm in Norway last year.  His slides depicted conditions which further confirm the warming process and that “rates of change” are significant.

 

Dr. Epstein emphasized that human health is dependent on our environment and economy.  He spoke of the confluence of forces and the convergence of agendas which contribute to an unhealthy planet.  He challenged the audience to stabilize the imbalances through increased use of wind energy, a photovatelic technology, green buildings, and the use of hybrid vehicles.  He cautioned that with a new energy plan and better alignment of rewards with regulations, we can reverse these negative trends to our global environment.

 

Submitted by Leon F. Vinci, DHA, director of public health, Johnson County Health Department

Section Events

The Environment Section Social and Awards Ceremony was well attended and an enjoyable occasion to connect with friends and welcome the many new members.  The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. Vince Radke for all of his efforts on behalf of the Section and APHA. This year, in addition to the Student Poster Awards, 17 Student Travel Scholarships were awarded.  The Environment Poster Sessions highlighted an array of interesting projects, and we hope to increase the visibility of the posters during next year’s meeting.

Environment Section Field Trip

The Section Field Trip has become a popular tradition, open to all Section members, as the Section sponsors an activity designed to explore environmental projects in the local area.  This year, in furthering the theme of community gardening and sustainable agriculture, members from the Food and Nutrition Section were invited to attend.  The field trip included a walking tour of several community gardens supported by the Boston Food Project and a local orchard through Earth Works.  The field trip continued out of Boston into Sharon, Mass., for a tractor-trailor ride over the fields of the Red Tomato Organic Sustainable Farm. 

Environment Section Sessions

Many of the sessions from the Annual Meeting have slides posted on the APHA members Web site if you are interested in more information http://www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/RecordedPresentations.htm. Following is a list of Environment Section sessions:

  1. Public Health and Nanotechnology Policy Development
  2. Environmental Justice and Access to Healthy Foods: Developing Community-University Partnerships to Address the Built Environment
  3. Environmental Justice in the Home: Strategies to Improve Public Health
  4. Built Environmental Institute: Poster Session
  5. Human Rights, Hydrocarbons, and Hozho
  6. Public Health and Challenges of Peak Oil
  7. Global Climate Change, Clean Energy and Human Rights
  8. Built Environment Institute I: Community and Neighborhood Health Perspectives
  9. Protecting Children's Environmental Health: Education and Social Justice
  10. Challenging The Chip: Labor Rights, Health and Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry
  11. Built Environment Institute II: Teaching the Built Environment: Health Connection
  12. Joint Environment and Nutrition Track: Drugs in our Corn Flakes? Risks to Public Health and the U.S. Food Supply?
  13. Katrina, Superfund, and Environmental Exposures: Risk Assessment Perspectives
  14. Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Safe Drop to Drink!
  15. The Health Impacts of Medical Waste Incineration and Alternatives
  16. Coordinating the Environmental Health Research Aims and Methods of Scientists and Affected Communities
  17. Deadly Legacy of Military Toxics: Community Initiative to Document and Address Health and Environmental Impacts
  18. Built Environment Institute III: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - Creating a Model for Public Health Involvement In Brownfield and Other Land Redevelopment Sites
  19. Compromised Air, Water, and Public Works: An International Perspective
  20. Get the Lead Out!: A Children's Health Emergency
  21. Cost-Benefit Analyses of Environmental Policies and Diseases
  22. Human Health and the Environment: Toward an Ecological View
  23. Strategies and Visions for the Future to Protect Scientific Integrity
  24. Tools for Tracking and Protecting Environmental Public Health
  25. Advocacy for Improved Air Quality-A Community Environmental Justice Perspective
  26. Identifying and Mitigating Localized Air Pollution
  27. Right to A Healthy Home
  28. Joint Environment and Nutrition Track: The Challenge of Industrial Animal Production: Impacts on the Environment, Consumers, Workers and Human Rights

APHA Environment Section’s Committee Reports

A.   Policy

1.     New Policies

New policies were submitted to APHA by midnight, EST on March 15.  See APHA Web site for additional details.  Feel free to contact John Balbus if you have questions about the process.

Kyle Kinner, John Balbus and Tracy Kolian are working on updating the climate change and health policy, which was passed in 1995.  The policy on inorganic lead and air quality should also be considered for updating given the current EPA review of the lead NAAQS.

Roni Neff is coordinating an effort to write a new policy position paper on food, environment and nutrition.  Contact her if you are interested in participating in this activity, mccurdy@neetf.org.

2.     Archived Policies

A number of policies were reviewed by the Joint Policy Committee and recommended for archiving.  No recent policies of relevance to EH were recommended for archiving.  Several policies from the early 1980s or before were recommended for archiving, including one on lead in the environment from 1972 (highlighting the need for a new policy statement) and policies on food inspection and labeling, environmental health planning, and occupational cancers.  Anyone interested in working on reviewing the archived policies in detail and working on new policies to update and replace should contact John Balbus at jbalbus@ed.org.

Submitted by: John Balbus, MD, MPH, Policy Committee chair; director, Health Program, Environmental Defense

3.     Subcommittee on Climate Change

The climate change committee, co-chaired by Kyle Kinner and John Balbus, is planning to meet soon and discuss actions for APHA as a whole to take on this issue.  A new policy is being written and several sessions are planned for the Annual Meeting.   Please contact Kyle or John if you have not already and wish to be involved in this activity jbalbus@ed.org.

4.     Subcommittee on Healthy Food and Environment

Jill Litt, Karen Perry Stillerman and David Wallinga among others are working with APHA as an advisory group on advocacy efforts related to the Farm Bill and other connections that relate to food/environment.  Roni Neff and the Committee are developing a policy paper reaching across sections that outlines the issues, food system, trends in industry, consequences (environmental, health, social justice), policy implications and recommendations.  The committee has developed a special session proposal both for APHA and for the Section.  If interested in joining a committee on this issue, please contact Jill Litt at jill.litt@uchsc.edu.

B.   Program Planning

Barbara Glenn and Bill Daniell are the new program planners for 2007.  They launched the 2007 Call for Abstracts on Monday, December 17.  If you are interesting in reviewing abstracts, please contact Barbara at Glenn.Barbara@epa.gov.  She will then input your information into the APHA Web site and you will be notified in regarding your status as a reviewer.

C.   Nominations Committee

Interested in getting involved in the leadership aspects of the section?  If so, please send your name to Nse Obot Witherspoon at nobot@cehn.org.

D.  Membership Committee

Welcome to Robin Lee, MPH, as the new chair of the Membership Committee.  We grateful to the wonderful efforts put forth by Dorothy Stevens and Susan Stone as previous chairs of the Membership Committee.    If you would like to participate on this committee, please contact Jill Litt at jill.litt@uchsc.edu.

 

E.   Student Involvement Committee

The Student Involvement Committee has a lot of ideas for 2007.  Some of the goals include revisiting acceptance criteria for student applications and expanding sources of revenue to support a scholarship program.  Taylor Anderson has developed a survey on surveymonkey to send to all students in the Student Assembly and the poster and travel award winners.  Becky Gluskin is developing an Environment Student Council as a subcommittee within the Student Involvement Committee to help develop leadership and facilitate involvement in monthly calls, Web development, newsletter submissions, etc.  Nse and Devon Payne-Sturges are brainstorming fundraising activities in the areas where annual meetings take place.  Please send ideas to Nse at nobot@cehn.org.

F.   Committee on 2011

Leyla McCurdy has volunteered to chair this newly formed committee that will work to plan events related to the Section’s upcoming 100th Anniversary in 2011.  If you would like to work on this committee, please contact Leyla McCurdy at mccurdy@neetf.org.

G.  Green Council

This group is currently seeking members with the idea to identify practices for APHA to adopt to increase nutrition and decrease waste at the annual meetings, and as an organizational leader.  If you are interested in participating on this Council, please e-mail Jill Litt at jill.litt@uchsc.edu.

APHA Action Board Update

ADVOCATE FOR ENVIRONMENT

 

As the Section representative to the APHA Action Board, I have a short update concerning recent activities and advocacy.

 

The Action Board is the advocacy component of APHA.  Our purpose is to educate and inform our members of important (and pending) issues which impact environmental health.

 

The Action Board has spearheaded three priority areas.  They are:

         

  • Strategic Plans/Reorganize – with a streamlining of the Board, a more efficient system has been put into place for operations and ethicacy. A Strategic Map is in place for 2007 to enhance committee outcomes.
  • Federal Budget/Environment – our recent alerts to the membership have been highly effective with Congress supporting increased funding for environmental health programs at the Federal level.  We greatly appreciate your action when we send you those special alerts.
  • E-Community – a new service has arrived!  The final touches are being made and APHA will be rolling out this program in the next few months.  Every APHA member will have access to this electronic forum, and it will greatly (and easily) enhance the method we use to contact our legislators in Congress.  Signing up is easy, and more information will follow soon.

Submitted by Leon F. Vinci, DHA, director of public health, Johnson County Health Department

APHA Environment Section “Student Corner”

            A.    Winter 2007 Student Corner

Welcome back to second semester! It was great to see so many students at the Annual Meeting in Boston. The poster sessions were a great success, and so many students were able to attend thanks to the generous travel scholarships awarded by the Environment Section. On behalf of all the award recipients, the students would like say thank you to the Environment Section as well as all the schools that matched donations.

After speaking with many students at the meeting, we sensed a desire for many of you to take on leadership within the Section. Therefore, we will soon be accepting applications for Student Ambassadors positions. Student Ambassadors will be in charge of representing the student community for the various committees within the Section. For more information on these positions, please e-mail me at rtg230@nyu.edu. We will be posting the position description and application on the Environment Section Web site in the next few weeks. This is a great opportunity to put your leadership skills to work.

We would also like some feedback from you so that we can find ways to improve the program for students. Please take a couple of minutes to take this quick online survey (www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=816923132901) and let us know your ideas.

Submitted by: Rebecca Tave Gluskin and Taylor Anderson, Student Liaisons

B.   APHA Student Assembly Alumni Database

 

This year, the APHA Student Assembly Opportunities Committee provided more resources to students regarding scholarships, conferences, job postings, potential employers, and fellowships/internships. In addition to these endeavors, the committee revamped the Student Assembly (SA) Alumni Database. The Alumni Database is meant to not only allow the SA to keep track of their past members, but it also provides current and potential students access to learn about possible careers in the public health field.

 

To access the Alumni Database, students can visit the www.aphastudents.org and click on the Opportunities Committee Web page. Here students can look at job positions that public health professionals currently in the field hold. Prospective public health students could access this database and view jobs that people with public health degrees have to gain a better understanding of the wide variety of career paths available to them. Alumni range from recent graduates working in fellowships or entry-level positions to seasoned health professionals with well-established research agendas.

 

The Student Assembly Opportunities Committee co-chairs are working to increase participation of alumni in the Alumni Database. Anyone who at one time was a member of the Student Assembly (previously entitled Public Health Student Caucus) can visit the Web site, complete the form available on the Opportunities Committee Web page (www.aphastudents.org/phso_alumni_db.php) and return it to jlcremeens@aol.com. This endeavor depends on the cooperation of Student Assembly alumni. With APHA-SA alumni support, the Database can become a wonderful resource for the next generation of public health students. We hope you will consider taking a few moments to add yourself to the Alumni Database. 

 

If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to contact Jennifer Cremeens or Anna Pollack, the Opportunities Committee co-chairs, at opportunities@apahstudents.org.

 

Submitted by: Jennifer Cremeens, Opportunities Committee co-chair

C.   Solicitation for Future “Student Corner” contributions

The “Student Corner” portion of our seasonal newsletter is intended for use by and for the benefit of our student members.  We encourage student members to send text by the appropriate deadlines for upcoming issues of the APHA Environment Section e-newsletter to Andrea.Wismann@uchsc.edu.   We encourage short update reports from our section’s Student Involvement Committee and news pertaining APHA’s Student Assembly of interest to our section membership.

New Collaborations

A.      APHA: A NEW CO-SPONSOR

NATIONAL HEALTHY SCHOOLS DAY, APRIL 30, 2007

 

National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated annually by APHA Environment Section member Claire Barnett, executive director, Healthy Schools Network, Inc. Celebrated on Monday, April 30 this year, we are pleased to announce that joining us as co-sponsors are: APHA, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, Green Seal, the Council of Educational Facility Planners International which hosts School Building Week annually, and U.S. EPA, as well as leaders of the national Coalition for Healthier Schools. 

Visit www.healthyschools.org to find out how you can celebrate locally and to see events suggestions promoting healthy school environments for all children. 

Submitted by: Claire L. Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

B.   Policy Campaigns for the U.S. Farm Bill

1.     Building Sustainable Futures

The general goal of the Building Sustainable Futures for Farmers Globally Campaign (BSF) is to provide a forum in which a broad coalition of constituencies can work together to build consensus around core principles and specific policy options in anticipation of the upcoming 2007 U.S. Farm Bill reauthorization. The Campaign's steering committee is composed of six groups:  ActionAid International, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Friends of the Earth USA, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, National Family Farm Coalition and the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural. 

In addition to farming, food and public health, the U.S. Farm Bill has significant impacts on agricultural trade policy, and vice versa. The BSF Campaign has attempted to focus on those areas where domestic farm policies interfaces with international trade policies. 

We invite interested organizations to consider signing onto the general BSF Declaration. The Declaration encapsulates the core principles that guide the ongoing collaboration of the Building Sustainable Futures for Farmers Globally campaign: These include, for example: Ensuring the food sovereignty of nations; curtailing artificially cheap commodity grain prices, and ending the dumping of overly cheap commodities abroad; sustainable energy production from biomass feedstocks; and respecting the rights of immigrants and farm workers. 

The Campaign also calls for domestic food and farm policies that promote safe and healthy foods, including policies that "Reaffirm and strengthen the right of democratically elected, local, state and national governments to regulate genetically engineered crops, animal factories, biomass energy facilities, and other industrial agricultural facilities on the basis of the precautionary principle in protecting public health and safety and the environment. Eliminate all direct and indirect public subsidies to vertically integrated animal factories so that they pay the full cost of environmental and health impacts that they current externalize. Bar the illegal importation of Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) and mandating vigorous USDA and FDA regulation of MPC use in food products. Enact and enforce strong public health and safety measures to protect consumers from food-borne diseases such as BSE (mad cow) and e coli."

Signing on to the Declaration is not considered an endorsement of everything listed under the four platform areas. Rather, for those groups interested in engaging in further dialogue, four policy planks offer focal points through which they may enter into a dialogue. The four major issue planks are: commodities, sustainable bioenergy, small and minority farms, and food aid.  The dialogue would continue to work toward further agreement on, and refinement of, specific policy options as we move into the actual farm bill debate next year. 

These planks were informed by three 2006 international farmers' exchanges organized by the BSF campaign in Wisconsin, Alabama and Mexico City. These exchanges were designed to solicit the opinions of farmers from several countries, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, Malawi and Kenya on key aspects of agriculture and trade policy, and to reach consensus on specific policy options to build a more sustainable future for farmers and consumers globally.  Highlights from these exchanges can be seen on the Project's Web site at www.globalfarmer.org

If you have questions or request more information on BSF, please contact Dennis Olson at the Institute for Agriculture for Trade Policy. Dolson@iatp.org

Submitted by: R. Dennis Olson, senior policy analyst, Trade & Global Governance Program, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy

2.     Farm and Food Project

Over the past year, a diverse group of organizations – family farm, sustainable agriculture, conservation and environment, rural and community development, anti-hunger, nutrition, public health, faith, and others – has met under the auspices of the Farm and Food Policy Project (www.farmandfoodproject.org) to discuss the future of U.S. farm and food policy. They have created a declaration that represents the consensus wrought between farm, conservation, anti-hunger, nutrition and community food security organizations participating in the FFPP process. They are now soliciting sign-ons from organizations, associations, cooperatives but not individuals, businesses or farms.  To view or sign their public declaration, which outlines a series of broad goals and specific measures that they believe will secure a brighter future for farmers and ranchers, for rural and urban communities, and for all of us who depend on a healthy food system, go to: http://www.farmandfoodproject.org/declaration.asp  The template is available from Jessie Dowling and can be obtained by emailing her at jessie@foodsecurity.org. You may also call to sign on at (202)543-1300.

Submitted on behalf of the Farm Food Policy Project

Summaries of Upcoming or Recent Meetings

     

·         The APHA Environment Section Mid-Year Meeting to be held in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2007 from 11-5 PM.

·         Environmental Health and Justice Grassroots Organizing Conference will be held from April 13th - 15th, 2007 in Orlando, Florida.  Their Website is: http://www.chej.org/florida_conference.htm

·         Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) May 15-19, 2007 at Tampa  Marriott Waterside, Tampa, Fla.  http://www.ewrinstitute.org/

 

Selected New Publications on Environmental Public Health Topics

 

This article is a follow up piece from last year’s spring newsletter:

 

“Hurricane Readiness: a Way of Life on the Bayous – an NIEHS community-based pilot project in south Terrebonne-Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana”

After Hurricane Rita devastated the western Louisiana and east Texas Gulf coasts, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Community Outreach & Education Core (COEC) at the University of Texas Medical Branch responded by delivering medical supplies to Larose La., and deploying an outreach survey team that videotaped a series of interviews with environmental activists involved in rescue and recovery efforts.  Between Oct. 4 and Dec. 17, 2006, this team asked respondents to identify and prioritize perceived environmental health risks due to storm damage, and to suggest outreach strategies that would assist recovery and increase community readiness for future storms.  In April 2006, the COEC’s Public Forum & Toxics Assistance Division received funding for an NIEHS pilot project to create and implement a site-specific community environmental risk curriculum that incorporates major areas of concern identified in the survey with a primary focus on the health consequences of large storms.

The targeted area for this intervention was south Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes.  This part of Louisiana is home to the United Houma Nation, traditional Louisiana Cajun culture, and numerous small scale commercial shrimp operations.   This is also one of the few regions in the Lower 48 where subsistence fishing, trapping and hunting are still a significant factor in the local economy.  COEC outreach chose this region because Hurricane Rita caused significant environmental damage in the area, most respondents in the original survey lived there, and a number of local organizations expressed enthusiasm for the project.  Les Reflections du Bayou – a grassroots gulf restoration group - emerged as the local organizational anchor.  Since the project employs a community based research and intervention model, several planning sessions with a network of local organizations were convened; this interactive process yielded additional ideas stemming from years of local experience with storms, recovery and coastal loss.  Ultimately, the final outline of themes and topics reflect community priorities as well as the environmental health focus of the NIEHS.  The network co-created a 15 hour intensive training program - “Hurricane Readiness: a Way of Life on the Bayous”  covering: 1) wetlands loss / coastal subsidence, 2) evacuation safety, 3) toxic exposures and medical outcomes of storm disasters, 4) storm-related mental health issues, 5) risk communication, and 6) community hazard assessments. 

Les Reflection du Bayou coordinated the training between Sept. 8 and September 12, 2006.  The process consisted of an intensive weekend workshop geared toward representatives of local groups who would then volunteer to serve their organizations as skill and information conduits.  After completing the workshop, participants gave two public Forums: one in Terrebonne Parish (at Houma), and the other in Lafourche Parish (at Galliano).  Additional guest presenters included a mix of local and academic research expertise, including:  coastal / wetlands deterioration (Windell Curole / South Lafourche Levee District), clinical medicine (Michael Robichaux, MD / Mathews, Louisiana), disaster epidemiology (Sharon Petronella, PhD/ UTMB), and community hazard assessment (Wilma Subra, MS / analytic chemist).  The workshop participants will meet for a second phase of training in March 2007.  Additional content will include: characteristics of vulnerable populations, advanced community storm hazard identification and risk assessment, effective advocacy for coastal restoration, and achieving sustainable outcomes: maintaining the Terrebonne-Lafourche network and funding future programs.  Louisiana communities actively represented in this project include: Larose, Lockport, Galliano, Golden Meadow, Cut Off, Point-aux-Chenes, Montegut, Dulac, Chauvin, Houma, Mathews, New Iberia, Isle de Jean Charles and Grand Bois.

Submitted by:  John Sullivan, co-director: Public Forum & Toxics Assistance Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine / NIEHS Center in Environmental Toxicology

Publication Submissions

We encourage other APHA Environment Section members to share information about new reports and books, available free on the Internet from their organizations, which have the potential to be of broad interest to section members due to their multidisciplinary nature and/or focus on prevention (of exposures, disparities, morbidity, mortality, disability) or policy.  However, due to space limitations, please note we publicize neither reports which are also available as archived peer-reviewed journal articles nor government reports and Web sites.  Please send your ideas with descriptive text (250-300 words or less) by the appropriate deadlines for upcoming issues of the APHA Environment Section e-newsletter to andrea.wismann@uchsc.edu.

Fellowship, Scholarship, Training and Awards

The following Awards were presented at the 2006 APHA Annual Meeting. 

A.   Distinguished Service Award: Vincent Radke, MPH, REHS, CFSP

B.   Homer Calver Lecture Award: Paul Epstein, MD, MPH

C.   2006 Student Scholarship Recipients

 

1) Julie Migrin - University of Michigan School of Public Health

2) Coty Maypole - University of Texas (sponsored by school)

3) Kathryn Graczyk - The George Washington University School

of Public Health

4) Betzaida Sandoz Vera – University of Puerto Rico 

5) Patricia McLaine - Johns Hopkins University School

of Public Health (sponsored by school)

6) Joyce Tseng - University of Washington, Seattle

7) Taylor Anderson - Portland State University

8) Rebecca Gluskin - New York University

9) Joanna Zablotsky - Johns Hopkins University School of Public

Health (sponsored by school)

10) Katy Van Velkinburgh – Montana State University College of

Nursing

11) Ishaya Daniel – Montgomery College at Rockville, Maryland

12) Laura Larsson - Montana State University

13) Peter James - Johns Hopkins University

School of Public Health (sponsored by school)

14) Christa Smolenski – Arcadia University

15) Ryan Sinclair - Tulane University

16)  Sariyamon Tiraphat – Old Dominion University

17)  Audra Lynn Gollenberg – University of Massachusetts SPH

 

D.   Student Poster Award Recipients:

First Place - Corrine Joshu - St. Louis University

Second Place - Brian Kunkle - Florida International University

Third Place - Rachel Bishop - Andrews University

Submitted by Nse Obot-Witherspoon, immediate past Section chair

Inter-Section and Policy Updates

A.   New APHA Policy Urges Action to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic

A new policy was recently adopted by APHA, Policy 200619, "Urgent Call for a Nationwide Public Health Infrastructure and Action to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic" (http://www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/policysearch/default.htm?id=1343).  Jake Pauls, a Section member who serves as an APHA representative on several committees responsible for national built environment codes and standards, attended the public hearing.  He drew attention to the need for the policy to address the additional implications of the obesity epidemic, particularly in relation to changes that must be made in the design, construction and operation of built environment infrastructure to mitigate the effects of obesity, weight problems generally, and the deteriorating fitness of people in the United States of America and elsewhere.

As a result of the hearing input, new language was added, resulted in the middle sentence of the following text included in the preamble portion of the new APHA Policy: "While the financial costs of obesity have a large impact on the cost of adult health care and lost work productivity, the long-term consequences are most dire for children. Other financial concerns include substantial costs that will be incurred in the design, construction and operation of buildings and other built environment infrastructure due to the number of individuals who are obese, overweight or physically unfit. Worldwide, nations are being urged to take action now and organize themselves to introduce a wide range of interventions to avoid the otherwise inevitable human and economic costs of chronic disease attributable to poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use."

Some of Jake Pauls' current efforts in the safety standards and model building code development arena, on behalf of APHA, focus on changes to be made to exit stairs, for example, to help compensate for reduced occupant evacuation capability -- estimated to be as much as 50 percent lower than capability documented 40 years ago.  For example, an increase of 27 percent in new exit stair minimum width, from 44 inches to 56 inches, is currently being advocated for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) model building code and the NFPA Life Safety Code.  For additional information, or questions or suggestions, please contact Jake Pauls at: bldguse@aol.com.

Submitted by: Jake Pauls, Consulting Services in Building Use and Safety

B.   Trade Day on Capitol Hill

The APHA Forum on Trade and Health will be holding a strategy session followed by visits to Capitol Hill to enlighten Congress about the impact of trade on health.  The Trade Act of 2002 expires in July 2007; this bill includes the Administration’s “fast-track” trade promotion authority, which precludes Congressional amendments to trade agreements.  In 2003-5, a critical core of influential health organizations succeeded in bringing concerns about the impact of trade policy on health to the attention of policy-makers in Congress and the administration, as well as to the media and the public.  As a result of our work, representatives of two organizations that advocate for public health positions on tobacco control and access to generic medicines have been appointed to advisory committees of the U.S. Trade Representative.  The landscape has changed in significant ways recently, and we anticipate the opportunity for more deliberate progress in 2007-8 on a public health agenda for trade. The strategy meetings on Feb. 1-2, 2007, established a beginning framework for the next two years.

The Environment Section is a sponsor of the APHA Forum on Trade.

Submitted by:  Doug Farquhar, JD, National Conference of State Legislatures

APHA Environment Section Leadership Calls

APHA Environment Section leadership calls are on the third Thursday of each month, from 3 to 4 p.m. eastern standard time.  Please e-mail the Section Chair Jill Litt at Jill.Litt@uchsc.edu, to be on the e-mail list to receive each call’s agenda and dial-in information. 

APHA Environment Section Leadership

This is a list of the current Environment Section leadership, councilors, and committee officers.  For contact information for any of the following individuals, please contact Section Secretary Andrea Wismann at andrea.wismann@uchsc.edu.

Environment Section Chair
Jill Litt, PhD,
Jill.Litt@uchsc.edu

Environment Section Chair-elect
Rebecca A. Head, PhD, DABT

ENV Immediate Past Chair
Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH ,nobot@cehn.org

Environment Section Secretary
Andrea Wismann, MSPHc,
andrea.wismann@uchsc.edu

Environment Section Secretary-elect
Rebecca Love, MPH, CHES

Environment Section Governing Councilors
Brenda M. Afzal, RN, MS
John M. Balbus, MD MPH
Allen Dearry, PhD
Anthony J. DeLucia, PhD
Derek G. Shendell, DEnv, MPH, AB
Peter J. Ashley, DrPH

ENV Section Councilors
Doug Farquhar, JD 
Michael J. Greene, MS, MPP
Amy D. Kyle, MPH, PhD
Robin Lee, MPH
Maureen O'Neill, MURP
Devon C. Payne-Sturges, DrPH

Environment Section Committee Chairs
Nominations Committee
Nse Obot-Witherspoon, MPH

Program Planning Committee
Barbara Glenn, PhD and Bill Daniell, MD MPH

Policy Committee
John M. Balbus, MD, MPH

Communications Committee
Andrea Wismann, MSPHc

Student Involvement Committee
Nse Obot-Witherspoon, MPH

Built Environment Committee
Peter J. Ashley, DrPH

Climate Change Committee
Kyle Kinner, JD, MPA and, John M. Balbus, MD, MPH

Healthy Food and Environment Committee
Jill Litt, PhD

Committee on 2011
Leyla McCurdy, MPhil

Membership Committee
OPEN- please contact
Jill.Litt@uchsc.edu if interested

Green Council
OPEN - please contact
Jill.Litt@uchsc.edu if interested