Online Program

Rethinking Environmental Health Science: Adapting to a Changing World

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD

EPA was established in 1970 to address growing concerns about environmental pollution. With this action, a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities were consolidated into one agency to ensure environmental protection. Since that time, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. While the Agency has made tremendous progress on many challenges, today’s environmental problems are much more complex. Likewise, over the past few decades, the scientific fields that are important to environmental protection have advanced. Layered on top of this, the rise of social media, the internet, and citizen science is helping to educate communities about environmental issues and bringing practical tools into the hands of the public to help inform local decisions. Finally, there’s a broad recognition in the environmental community about the interconnectedness of the environment and public health, and there’s a deep appreciation among environmental scientists today of taking a systems approach in environmental research. In light of these factors, EPA’s Office of Research and Development is developing rigorous science to address tomorrow’s challenges in new and innovative ways. New approaches – and perhaps new frameworks – will be needed to continue to solve the Nation’s environmental challenges. Central to this will be a path towards integrating environmental science and public health and broadening the recognition that EPA – at its core – is a public health agency. This presentation will offer a brief historical perspective of EPA’s mission and work and provide a strategic vision for EPA’s research that will place the Agency on strong footing for many years to come.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how today’s environmental challenges are more complex than the environmental challenges from the 1970s Explain how scientific advances influence understanding complex environmental problems Describe how EPA is planning to address future environmental challenges, given their increasing complexity and advances in science.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the EPA Science Advisor. Previously, I was at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg SPH, where I served as Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training and as a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, with joint appointments in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the School of Medicine Department of Oncology.
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.