Online Program

Rat race vs. the human race: Corporate roots of the ultimate challenges to public health

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Hillel W. Cohen, MPH, DrPH, Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
The CDC is promoting a Zombie Apocalypse preparedness program. The tongue-in-cheek campaign uses horror fiction to attract attention to CDC recommendations for individual responses to potential natural disasters or pandemics. Having a “Go Bag” for a 3 day evacuation and an “Emergency Kit” for 2 weeks at home are good ideas for some emergencies. But individual, short-term responses are woefully inadequate for some potentially apocalyptic threats that are based in science fact not Zombie fiction. For the 99% without island fortresses, gated and domed communities or air-conditioned bunkers, we need to find a better way to save our planet from the 1% who are willing to risk our lives for their profit. Collective action to PREVENT catastrophe is our best hope.

This panel will address 3 challenges to public health that could have apocalyptic consequences. Nuclear Catastrophe, Climate Change and Pandemic Outbreaks pose real threats that will not be resolved by local, half-hearted measures. Some proclaim that private greed and cut-throat competition that characterizes modern capitalism are necessary to motivate progress. On the contrary, the system that promotes corporate power and private profit over public health threatens our future. Our biological capability of empathy and cooperation was as necessary as tool making for the emergence and growth of our species. As we face ultimate challenges to public health, the need to overcome corporate interests with movements based on human solidarity and cooperation is greater than ever.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe how the subordination of public health to corporate profits have contributed to the threats of nuclear catastrophe, climate change and global pandemic. Identify and explain how a global movement of international solidarity and cooperation of the 99% is needed to meet these ultimate challenges to public health.

Keyword(s): Climate Change, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of epidemiology and population health and a long-time activist in anti-war, labor and social justice movements.
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.