Harvard, Wildlife Conservation Society launch new 'Planetary Health Alliance' with support from the Rockefeller Foundation

December 11, 2015

NEW YORK, December 11, 2015--Today Harvard University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and a range of other partner organizations are launching the Planetary Health Alliance, a new effort to dramatically improve our understanding of the linkages between environmental change and human health across the globe.

The Planetary Health Alliance is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, following on the recent release of the groundbreaking Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, which outlines key opportunities to advance public health through more robust approaches to environmental stewardship.

Climate change is only one of many types of environmental change effecting Earth's life support systems--in fact, there is now a serious risk that the dramatic gains to public health made since the 1950s could plateau or even reverse as a result of human degradation of a myriad of natural systems.

Dr. Samuel Myers, Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will serve as director of the Planetary Health Alliance, alongside Harvard Chan School Research Scientist Dr. Christopher Golden, who will be the associate director of the project. Both Myers and Golden have extensively studied the intersection of environment and health, witnessing firsthand the trans-disciplinary nature of the field. The Alliance will be based at Harvard University and will involve the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"The human transformation of most of Earth's natural systems represents a clear and present danger to global health. There's an enormous amount that can be done to address these threats--that's why it's important that we recognize these issues and develop science-based plans of action," said Dr. Myers, "We are already seeing suffering due to global environmental change. How much suffering happens is up to us."

"Environmental problems often span many disciplines, and the Harvard Center for the Environment has become adept at bringing together researchers and policymakers from diverse fields, making it the perfect home for the Planetary Health Alliance," said Daniel Schrag, director of the Harvard Center for the Environment. "The goal is to grow capacity and use Harvard's convening power to create a community around planetary health, and create excitement for people currently working in this space."

The Planetary Health Alliance will be grown into a consortium of universities, non-governmental organizations, governmental entities, and other partners, working together to build a community of stakeholders to foster research, training, and policy action at the intersection of human-driven environmental change and public health.

"The Planetary Health Alliance will help improve our understanding of the health benefits which natural systems are providing to humanity, " said Dr. Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the NY-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). "WCS has long recognized the need to enhance the understanding of a range of critical conservation-public health connections, and the need to inform both conservation and public health policy. We commend The Rockefeller Foundation for its vision to support the development of this interdisciplinary field of endeavor, one of great importance to our collective future."

"Increasingly, we have come to recognize that the health of humanity depends on ensuring the health and resilience of our planet--from our climate, to our forests, to the air we breathe and the water we drink," said Michael Myers, managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. "The Rockefeller Foundation helped to pioneer the field of public health more than 100 years ago, and today we are proud to support the field building efforts of the new Planetary Health Alliance--which we think of as building 'public health 2.0.'"
-end-
About The Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE)

The Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) encourages research and education about the environment and its many interactions with human society. The most pressing problems facing our natural environment are complex, often requiring collaborative investigation by scholars versed in different disciplines. By connecting scholars and practitioners from different disciplines, the Center for the Environment seeks to raise the quality of environmental research at Harvard and beyond.

About the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. We work together as a community of leading scientists, educators, and students to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people's lives, not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices.

About The Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US nonprofit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. With long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. WCS was the first conservation organization with a dedicated team of wildlife veterinarians and other health professionals deployed around the world. The WCS Wildlife Health & Health Policy Program focuses on problem-solving at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health and livelihoods interface, as underpinned by a foundation of environmental stewardship. Visit: http://www.wcs.org

About The Rockefeller Foundation

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation's mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas--advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities--to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot--or will not. To learn more, please visit http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org.

Harvard University

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.