Online Program

Public Health Nursing-Environmental Health: Lessons Learned Regarding Emerging Health Issues Related to Unconventional Natural Gas Development

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Lenore Resick, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, Emlenton, PA
The rapid growth of unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) is associated with concerns about possible health effects on communities and individuals in close proximity to industrial activities related to UNGD.  A nonprofit group funded by private foundations was established as a community initiative responsible for individual and community health assessment and advancement of environmental health and education associated with natural gas extraction in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Central to the work of the organization are the health and environmental risk assessments completed by the family nurse practitioner.

This presentation will discuss the most commonly reported symptoms and physical findings of individuals living in communities experiencing proliferation of UNGD and the challenges encountered by health care providers. Although reported symptoms relate to nearly all body systems, high levels of ongoing stress are most pervasive. Individuals often report changes in family dynamics and relationships with neighbors of long standing. Laboratory testing presents many challenges. Research is in the early stages regarding appropriate laboratory testing and interpretation of findings. The presence of “outsiders” conducting studies in not always welcomed by the community. The degree of symptoms reported is often associated with the topography of the rolling hills and valleys in this region. Health care providers often miss the likelihood of environmental exposure when making a differential diagnosis.

Individuals living near UNGD are at risk for undiagnosed conditions related to environmental exposures. Health care providers need to be aware of the potential for emerging environmental health issues in their communities.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the most common symptoms of individuals living near unconventional natural gas development. Describe five lessons learned by the nurse practitioner working with individuals living near unconventional natural gas development.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I led research on the meaning of health in the context of the environment in this region. This work was published in a peer-reviewed journal. I have presented on this topic at peer reviewed national and international professional meetings. Currently I am the nurse practitioner in the region where I led the research.
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.