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Erica Frank, MD, MPH

Vancouver, British Columbia
Speaker Topic: Climate Change
Medical Specialty: Preventive Medicine
PSR Affiliation: Past President of PSR; Former member
School Affiliation: Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health

Areas of Expertise:

  • Distance  Ed around climate change
  • Not traveling for meetings
  • Physicians' special role in sustainability
  • Living with alternative energy systems
  • Living sustainable lives
  • Plant-based diets
  • Private-public partnerships
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • Organized medicine
  • Medical student activism
  • Global/international health
Media Experience: Television, Radio, Writing (editorials, op-eds), Public Speaking

Why PSR?

Why have I poured my heart, time, and funds into PSR? Because PSR concentrates on issues that really matter, threats that will mean the demise of humanity (and multiple other species) if we don't do something about them. I can't imagine just spending my time focusing only on one patient at a time, and ignoring threats that could bring us all down. One nice aspect to PSR, though, is that for those docs who do prefer to concentrate on individual patients, they can donate to PSR so that the remarkably talented staff can do some of that critical population-based work for all of us!

Biographical Sketch

Erica Frank, MD, MPH, is a Tier I Canada Research Chair, a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health and in the Department of Family Practice in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and a Senior Scholar of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She is also Founding Director of Health Sciences Online (creating a virtual health sciences university), Past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Research Director for the Annenberg Physician Training Program.

Until 2006, she was a tenured Professor, Vice Chair (Academic Affairs), and Division Director (Preventive Medicine) in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She also directed Emory’s Preventive Medicine Residency Program, and had a clinical practice in cholesterol management. Following a transitional internship at the Cleveland Clinic, she was residency (Yale, 1990) and fellowship (Stanford, 1993) trained, and also board certified, in preventive medicine.

Her major research theme is physicians’ personal and clinical prevention habits. She is Principal Investigator of three national studies on physician health: (1) the Women Physicians’ Health Study, a questionnaire-based study of 4,501 U.S. women M.D.s, and the first large study of their personal and professional characteristics, yielding more than fifty publications; (2) the “Healthy Doc – Healthy Patient” project, a 17 U.S. medical school study testing and showing the positive effect of encouraging medical students’ healthy behaviors on their personal and clinical prevention habits; and (3) of a similar study to WPHS, the Canadian Physicians’ Health Study. She has traveled and worked in over 60 countries, and is extensively published with over 130 articles (including four first-authored JAMA publications, and additional first-authored articles in the Lancet, BMJ, and other major medical journals).

Dr. Frank is the Founder and Executive Director of Health Sciences Online (www.hso.info). HSO is funded and co-founded by WHO, World Bank, NATO Science for Peace, the World Medical Association, the Canadian government, and others. Eleven years in development, HSO has provided since 2008 the first and only authoritative, comprehensive, free, and ad-free library of >50,000 reference materials, courseware, and other e-learning opportunities for health professionals in training and practice around the world. HSO’s next phase is working with global organizations and colleagues to create the world’s largest, free, high-quality health sciences university, at www.globaluni.info. GlobalUni uses distance education, building on expert-consensus-derived competencies and HSO-gathered learning resources to fulfill those competencies, along with local mentoring, and peer-to-peer learning. HSO will train many thousands of trainees at a time, particularly in developing countries, with students remaining in their home environments. Piloting this model in 2009-2011, HSO is helping to start and sustain schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health, and speech-language pathology in the Caribbean, China, Colombia, India, Kenya, Nepal, South Africa, and Zambia. HSO’s 2011 global launch for this health sciences university should include six residency programs, and 30+ medicine, public health, nursing, and dentistry rotations -- all high-quality and community-based, and all for free – an unprecedented endeavour.

Dr. Frank has considerable media and health education experience. She has been the Co-Editor in Chief of the journal Preventive Medicine (1994-1999), the Editor of the student component of JAMA, and has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. She wrote a health series for Vogue magazine, and was the health reporter for the central Georgia ABC affiliate for two years, a full time medical editor for Lifetime Medical Television for a year, and a health reporter for Medical News Network. Dr. Frank is also an active volunteer and environmentalist, including having been U.S. President of Physicians for Social Responsibility (2008), the co-designer and owner of the only energy-independent home in Georgia (1997-2006), and an elected city councilor (2008-present).

She has received a number of awards for her work, including the AMA/Pettis Award (outstanding U.S. medical student communicator), the American College of Preventive Medicine’s (ACPM’s) “Rising Star Award” (received the first year the award was offered), ACPM’s Best Scientific Presentation award, AOA status, and the outstanding alumnus award from Princeton Day School, and Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

To request Dr. Frank as a speaker, please email psrnatl@psr.org or call 202-667-4260.

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