Online Program

Break the cycle of children's environmental health disparities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Leslie Rubin, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Robert Geller, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Janice Nodvin, BA, Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit
Maeve Howett, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University
Children who grow up in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage are exposed to a variety of environmental factors that can result in serious childhood health problems. In the developing world these include food shortage, lack of availability of clean water, susceptibility to infectious diseases and exposure to conflict and violence. In industrialized countries, exposures to a variety of natural and man-made toxins, air pollution from industry and motor vehicles, and dilapidated physical environments in their homes and neighborhoods. These adverse conditions result in increased morbidity and mortality for those children and are termed Environmental Health Disparities. Although the underlying factors that result in these disparities are overwhelming in their social, economic and political challenges to countries and the world body, we have developed a modest model for addressing this challenge. Break the Cycle of Children's Environmental Health Disparities is an interdisciplinary program that inspires students from a variety of academic and professional perspectives to develop projects to “Break the Cycle” at any point. The program mentors the students through completion of their projects, requires that they present their work at a conference and then write a paper on their project for publication. To date we have had seven annual programs with more than 50 students from almost 20 universities and disciplines in seven states in the USA, with four published monographs in international journals and one in press. We will present the model, the process and examples of projects as well as a survey of the past students who have participated in the program and discuss possible replication of the program elsewhere in the world. In essence, the ‘Break the Cycle' program explores strategies to reduce environmental health disparities and promote health equity at the same time as it is cultivating future leaders in the field.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Formulate strategies to reduce children’s health disparities

Keyword(s): Children's Health, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a pediatrician who has been involved in the care of children with developmental disabilities for the past 30 years and with children’s environmental health and health disparities in children for the past 15 years and the principal architect and director of the Break the Cycle program for the past 8 years. I have been on the faculty of Case Western Reserve, Harvard Medical School, Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.