Overview of the Environmental Health Matters Initiative (2/36)

Introductory talk by Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPA

Jacob I. and Irene B. Fabrikant Chair and Professor in Health, Risk, and Society

Johns Hopkins Bloomber School of Public Health

Some of EHMI's work has included looking at persistent fluorine in water supplies, reducing impacts of reactive nitrogen from agriculture, effects of transportation and mobility on environmental health, and now they are looking at airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Describes the current challenges 9 as a so-called "wicked problem." These problems are identified as having the following features:

  • Complex
  • Affected by many interacting factors
  • Various spatial scale and long temporal scales
  • May have global implications
  • Difficult to define
  • Unstable and socially complex
  • Have no clear solution or end point
  • Extend beyond the understanding of one discipline

"COVID-19 may be the mother of all wicked problems." A cross-cutting approach is needed that brings together multiple disciplines, and the conference has speakers across 4 continents.

There are three components that must be considered: agent, host, and environment. Environment includes a number of factors such as the natural and built environment, housing, infrastructure, workplace, and transportation, among others. Social and economic risk drivers affect the environmental conditions, and these multiply risk.

The Epidemiological Triangle highlights the critical role played by the environment, alongside the host and agent.

Thanks were given to the Workshop Planning Committee members:

  • CHAIR: Jonathan M. Samet, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Georges C. Benjamin, American Public Health Association
  • Seema Lakdawala, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • John-Martin Lowe, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Lindsey Marr, Virgina Tech
  • Kim Prather, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
  • Arthur Reingold, Unviersity of California, Berkeley
  • John Volckens, Colorado State University

As well as the EHMI Steering Committee

  • Thomas A. Burke (Chair), John Hopkins University
  • Darrell Boverhof, The Dow Chemical Company
  • George P. Daston, Procter & Gamble Company
  • Linda J. Fished, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (retired)
  • Estelle Geraghty, Esri
  • Lynn R. Goldman, The George Washington University
  • Gavin Huntley-Fenner, Huntley-Fenner Advisors
  • Daniel Greenbaum, Health Effects Institute
  • Philip R.S. Johnson, Heinz Foundation
  • Beth Karlin, See Change Institute
  • Jennifer McParland, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Amy Pruden, Virgina Tech
  • Ana V. Diez Roux, Drexel University
  • Martha E. Rudolph, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (retired)
  • Jonathan M. Samet, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Devon C. Payne-Sturges, University of Maryland
  • Deborah Swackhamer, University of Minnesota

And the EHMI Liaisons

  • NIH/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences - John Balbus
  • Pure Earth - Richard Fuller
  • Target - Francie Abramson
  • Environmental Protection Agency - Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Al McGartland
  • U.S. Geological Survey - Geoffrey S. Plumlee
  • Walmart - Zach Freeze
  • Center for Disease Control - Patrick Breysse
  • Covestro - Robert Skoglund
  • Department of Defense - John Seibert
  • Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) - Joel Tickner
  • Health and Environmental Funders Network - Kathy Sessions
  • Kresge Foundation - Jalonne White-Newsome, David Fukuzawa
  • National Environmental Health Association - Natash DeJarnett

Next: COVID-19: Public Health and Scientific Challenges (3/36)

Previous: Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 EHMI Virtual Workshop Summaries (1/36)

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