New Issue of Stanford Medicine Explores How Environment Can Affect Health
Jul 10, 2013 - 1:00:22 PM
This simple truth gnawed at Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sheri Fink as Hurricane Sandy approached New York City last fall. As she writes in the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine, a collaboration with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: "The images of the hurricane spinning toward my city, and the knowledge that thousands of New York's most fragile residents would be left in its path, in facilities that were not hardened to withstand significant flooding or power outages, made my stomach sink."
Fink's article on heroics in New York City's hospitals and nursing homes during Hurricane Sandy is part of the special report, "Environmental impact: The health effect," in this summer's issue of the magazine, which has just been published. Also inside the report is a Q&A with actor Matt Damon and his water.org co-founder, Gary White, on bringing clean water to the developing world.
A healthy environment is critical to human health: One recent study estimates that air, water and soil pollution cause up to 40 percent of deaths worldwide each year, as well as countless illnesses. Natural disasters multiply the dangers.
Yet the environment is often left out of medical conversations, in part because the problems are so big and so complicated.
"Because these are societal problems, no one individual can solve the problem on his or her own," said Barton "Buzz" Thompson, PhD, co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. "And because the problems are complex, no single discipline can solve the problem on its own."
The good news is that support for interdisciplinary environmental research and advances in technology to carry out that research are bearing fruit.
In the issue:
* Fink, a 2010 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting and a School of Medicine alumna, reports on what happened in New York City's hospitals and nursing homes during Hurricane Sandy and considers what this should teach us about emergency preparedness.
* Actor Matt Damon and engineer Gary White, co-founders of water.org, discuss how they intend to solve the global water crisis.
* The tale of a trip to the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, that led to a radical solution for contaminated drinking water.
* A feature on senior citizens using tablet computers developed at Stanford to alert city officials to safety hazards in their working-class neighborhood.
* A story on scientists who are combining data from satellite images and studies on the ground to grasp the ecology of disease-bearing pests.
In addition to the "Environmental impact" package, this issue of the magazine includes a feature on the friendship between artist Frida Kahlo and Stanford surgeon Leo Eloesser, MD, and the story of how a cancer treatment 30 years in the making came in the nick of time for centenarian Winnie Bazurto.
The magazine is available online at http://stanmed.stanford.edu. Print copies are being sent to subscribers. Others can request a copy at (650) 723-6911 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stanford Medicine is published three times a year by the medical school's Office of Communication & Public Affairs. Follow @stanmedmag on Twitter.
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The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation's top medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit http://mednews.stanford.edu. The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includes Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For information about all three, please visit http://stanfordmedicine.org/
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