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Our nation's clean water policy should provide all communities with access to healthy, safe water by protecting the streams and wetlands that contribute to our drinking water supply.

CONFRONTING TOXICS: The Contamination of America

Description: There are thousands of chemicals in commerce, most of which have never been tested for safety. Our exposure to these chemicals is ubiquitous: many of them can be found in the blood, urine, and hair of Americans from around the country. Although exposure is ubiquitous, it is not equitable. The chemical contamination found in urban, low-income communities from industrial uses, poor quality housing stock, and transportation-related pollution layers an additional burden of exposure on low income and communities of color. At the same time, diseases and disorders with environmental risk factors or suspected environmental causes--including some cancers, asthma, diabetes, obesity, several measures of fertility, and heart disease--are increasing in incidence. How can healthcare professionals effectively address chemical exposure of their patients, as well as ensure that our nation’s chemical policies embody the principles of social justice?

Goal: Healthcare professionals must raise their voices to help protect vulnerable populations from the adverse health effects of toxic chemicals. Students will learn about the resources available to them as clinicians as well as opportunities to get involved in improving chemical policy at the federal level.

Moderator:


Patrice Sutton,MPH


Patrice Sutton, MPH is a Research Scientist at the University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Patrice is the Director of UCSF's From Advancing Science to Ensuring Prevention (FASTEP) project. The goal of FASTEP is to secure each and everyone’s right to optimal reproductive health by fostering environments that prevent exposure to potential reproductive toxicants and provide the nutritive and social sustenance necessary for healthy pregnancies, children, adults, and future generations. Patrice has over 20 years of experience in occupational and environmental health research, industrial hygiene, public health practice, policy development and community-based advocacy. As a contractor to California's state health department from 1987 to 2006, she was responsible for conducting all aspects of research investigations spanning a disparate range of issues, including lead poisoning, tuberculosis, asthma, and pesticide-illness. She has extensive experience collaborating with directly-impacted workplace and community-based populations, labor, and governmental and non-governmental organizations in the development of research strategies and policy recommendations. She also has extensive experience as a volunteer in support of communities and workers impacted by the nuclear weapons production cycle and has published over thirty peer-reviewed scientific articles and government technical reports.


Panelists:


Laura Anderko RN, PhD


As the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Endowed Chair for Values Based Health Care, Dr. Anderko supports the integration of Georgetown University's School of Nursing and Health Studies' values of equity, respect for diversity, excellence, social justice and value of the common good into research, teaching, service, and practice initiatives. She works in partership with Georgetown's Center for Social Justice, the State and Federal Center for Climate Change at the Georgetown Law Center, the Georgetown University Medical Center, and the O'Neill Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, to conduct research and to develop population-based strategies to reduce health disparities and encourage health equity in underserved communities.

Dr. Anderko is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency's Childrens Health Protection Advisory Committee (a federal advisory committee) and is a board member of the newly established Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environment.  She has spearheaded nursing education, practice, advocacy, and research programs on children's environmental health, receiving the Charlotte Brody award for environmental advocacy in 2009. She has developed a number of environmental health nursing courses and professional development workshops, reaching over 800 nurses to date. In addition, she has worked in partnership with state and local health agencies such as the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program  to screen for environmental toxins and conducted community-based participatory research to study the impact of environmental toxins on the growth and development of children. Her work in environmental health has recently expanded to include the use of social media to more widely disseminate environmental health messages to the general public. 


 


Maye Thompson, RN, PhD


PSR Affiliation: Environmental Health Program Director, Oregon PSR

Maye Thompson, RN, PhD is the Environmental Health Program Director at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her PhD is in nursing, with a focus on women's health and policy. She has been an environmental health advocate for 12 years, first as a volunteer, then with PSR. Her interest in Environmental Health was piqued early in her nursing career, working with farm workers in California's Central Valley. She co-chairs the Oregon Nurses Association's Cabinet on Health Policy.

Steve Gilbert PhD., DABT


Dr. Steven G. Gilbert, Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders (INND), has a Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Rochester, and is a Diplomat of American Board of Toxicology (D.A.B.T.).  His book, A Small Dose of Toxicology- The Health Effects of Common Chemicals addressing everyday concerns about toxicology was published in 2004 (see www.asmalldoseof.org).  His latest project is developing Toxipedia (www.toxipedia.org), a wiki based web site designed to connect science and people. This project has resulted in a series of wiki based web sites including the World Library of Toxicology (WLT, www.wltox.org), funded in part by the National Library of Medicine.  He also started a web site on Integrated Pest Management (www.IPMopedia.org), in part with funding King County, WA Hazardous Waste. He is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington and an Affiliate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell.  Dr. Gilbert is a former owner and President of Biosupport, LTD., which he sold to SNBL USA Ltd. a Japanese based corporation.  For two years he continued as President of SNBL USA and SNBL USA Biosupport.  These companies were involved in pre-clinical contract research, toxicology, primate research and specialized model development including, research in cardiovascular biology, and neurobiology in a GLP environment.  The Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders, founded in 1996, is a non-profit (501c3) institute dedicated to research and education in the neurotoxicology. 

Dr. Gilbert is the author or co-author on over 40 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous abstracts, several book chapters, and has given almost 425 invited presentations.  He was on the Editorial Board of Toxicological Sciences, Past-President and member of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Washington Association of Biomedical Research (NWABR), formerly on Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, advisory board, and member of the Board of Directors of Washington Toxics Coalition, and former member, KUOW public radio station.  He is currently president of the board of directors of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, and ob the board of Resource Media.  He is actively involved in the Master Home Environmentalist Program, dedicated to community education about home hazards.  He is a member of the NWABR speaker’s bureau giving lectures in K-12 classrooms on toxicology, animal use in research, drug development, stem cells and ethics.  He teaches at the University of Washington, most recently a course on risk assessment.  He has also served on several committees for the Society of Toxicology.  The majority of Dr. Gilbert’s research has focused on understanding the neurobehavioral effects of low-level exposure to lead and mercury on the developing nervous system.  Efforts to make this research accessible to the public and government regulators have fostered an interest in risk assessment, risk communication and the precautionary principle. Steve brings an interesting perspective to basic toxicology having worked for the Canadian government, as leader in private industry and as a teacher and faculty member in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington.

Web sites: www.asmalldoseof.org, www.toxipedia.org, www.healthyworldtheater.org, www.wltox.org, www.IPMoedia.org, www.wanmec.org