142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Honest Broker of Medical Research in Bhopal, 1984-2014

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 8:56 AM - 9:09 AM

Chris Carlsten, MD , Medicine, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Background: The leak of methyl isocyanate from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984 was a disaster on multiple levels, most notably in terms of the profound loss of human life. Unfortunately, the 30 years following the leak have witnessed ongoing suffering, in terms of mortality and morbidity, and a deeply wounded population.

Methods: The reaction to the disaster over decades is dictated in part by the way that relevant information is collected and disseminated. Using the framework of the “Honest Broker” (Pielke), the history of the procurement and proctoring of research data since the 1984 disaster will be dissected. A comparison will be made to the World Trade Center disaster.


Results: The above methods will allow the discussant and audience to consider how decisions regarding how research data (following, in this case, a major community disaster) is gathered, disseminated and leveraged can influence the perception of the event.


Conclusions: The perspective of an ‘honest broker’ of information regarding the medical consequences of the Bhopal disaster can provide valuable focus and lessons applicable to future events.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Public health biology
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key milestones of medical research in Bhopal from 1994 to the present Evaluate the Bhopal medical research experience within the framework of “The Honest Broker” (as coined by Dr Roger A Pielke) Discuss the take home lessons learned from this orientation, with a view to how they may serve the public health community moving forward.

Keyword(s): Chemical Exposures & Prevention, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have formulated the concept of this presentation, performed the literature search, developed the background information, and discussed the content and conclusions for this topic. I am a former volunteer at the Sambhvana clinic in Bhopal and Associate Professor and Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease, University of British Columbia
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.