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Notes – 12/23/2015


Now that finals have been taken and people head toward their well-deserved break, I want to acknowledge a few important recent accomplishments and noteworthy events from members of our department.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), with the support of two grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, has announced that it is forming an initiative called the Planetary Health Alliance.  Its purpose is to support scientists investigating the effects of the changing environment and health, to explore what can be done about it.  Congratulations to Sam Myers, who was named Director of the Project, and Chris Golden, who will serve as the Associate Director.  Our Department and the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) will participate jointly in the Planetary Health Alliance.  An article about it can be found in the Harvard Gazette here.

Congratulations to Jaime Hart (first author) and Francine Laden for their article that appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association Report that suggests that air pollution is a cause of increased cardiovascular risks in women, and that women with type 2 diabetes are particularly susceptible. The school ran about the article here.

On a more local level, student Erica Walker’s research on noise levels around Boston and their effects on people was featured in articles on the HSPH website here and in the Dorchester Reporter article here.

Finally, CHGE’s own Jack Spengler and Ari Bernstein participated in a Forum that discussed Climate Change: Health and Disease Threats. It’s well worth watching; you can find it here.

Congratulations to Mihye Lee, former doctoral student and now post-doc in the EER program, on the birth of her son on December 14, 2015.

Speaking of birthdays, Mel First would have been 101 today (December 23rd).  For those of you who did not have the good fortune to know Mel, he was Professor of Industrial Hygiene for as long as most of us remember.  He came to the School as a Research Fellow in 1947 and joined the faculty in 1963.  He was a beloved and respected teacher for most of the senior faculty. He was also a bit of a curmudgeon, and probably the most feared examiner of our doctoral students. He was working almost to the day he died at age 96 in 2011. Join me in remembering and celebrating the contributions of our colleague Mel.

I wish us all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year.  Don’t forget to save January 25 for our EH Holiday Party.  Enjoy your break and we’ll see you in January!