The second annual SBLF lecture series finished in March. Building on the success of our first year, SBLF again sponsored a series of three lectures featuring nationally recognized thought leaders who came to Seattle to share their expertise on links between the environment and health. Over the last two years, more than 400 people attended one or more of the SBLF lectures. The comments from 2005 attendees that follow capture some of the enthusiasm for this SBLF-sponsored event.
* “Incredible lecture – I only wish more people could be here, because this is important and fascinating.”
* “Absolutely superb talk. One of the best scientific presentations I have ever attended.”
* “Thanks so much. Keep it up. This series is a valuable service to our community.”
* “Excellent data and wide issues covered.”
* “Just-right presentation, balancing the scientific details with an understandable overview and summary. Very informative.”
* “I can’t believe I only had to pay $10 for this amazing lecture!”
Elizabeth Davis, MA, of the League of Women voters and Advisory Board Member for the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health (ICEH) had this to say about the series:
It’s hard to believe the second annual “Our Health, Our Environment: Making the Link” lecture series is already over. It has been a privilege for ICEH to be a co-sponsor of such outstanding presentations from nationally renowned scientists and researchers on cutting-edge topics in the environmental health field. Not only have the lectures been accessible and informative, but they’ve been translatable into action we can take, both personally and on a public policy level to ensure we all have a healthier future. The Q&A sessions with the addition of local experts enriched our understanding of the topics at hand, and the receptions afterward have been abuzz with lively conversation and strategy sharing.
With this kind of reception, we’re happy to say that the SBLF board has set aside funds to continue and perhaps expand the series in 2006.
Our first lecture, Enduring Legacies: How Pollutants Shape Brain Development, on January 19, featured Bernard Weiss, PhD, a nationally renowned researcher who has been exploring the neurobehavioral toxicology of lead and other contaminants for over 30 years. He is Professor of Environmental Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, editor or coeditor of seven books and monographs and author of over 200 articles. Dr. Weiss presented his research on the links between lead and other heavy metals and learning and developmental disorders. After the lecture, Dr. Weiss was joined by Dr. Stephen Gilbert, a local expert on human health and toxicology for a lively panel discussion with experts chiming in from the audience. Links to articles by Dr. Weiss can be found at www.iceh.org.
Are frogs the canaries in our coal mine? Tyrone Hayes, PhD, Professor of Developmental Endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks so. He gave a compelling lecture on the effects of atrazine on animal and human health on February 8th. Dr. Rich Fenske joined Dr Hayes for a stimulating panel discussion following the lecture. When the panel concluded, the lecture series audience of 160 gave them a standing ovation. Dr. Hayes and his research have been in the news of late, most recently in a fall editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, when he was invited to testify before the state legislature. While he was in Seattle, SBLF arranged for Dr. Hayes to be interviewed on the cable program “To Your Health.” Again, you can find more information about Dr. Hayes’ research at www.iceh.org.
A DVD of Tyrone Hayes’ lecture at the Seattle Art Museum on Feb. 8, 2005 available for sale. You can order one by filling out the form on the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health website: www.iceh.org/CHE-WAlectures.html.
The DVD costs $20 (or $15 for lecture series partners and non-profits)
Air Pollution and children: Not Breathing Easy. The last 2005 lecture, on Wednesday, March 16th was to be given by Dr. Ruth Etzel, Professor of Public Health at George Washington University on Wednesday. Dr. Etzel was unexpectedly summoned to serve on a Public Health Service Board in Washington, D.C. as part of her requirements with the Naval Reserve and was unable to make it to Seattle. Fortunately, Catherine Karr, MD, PhD, whom Dr. Etzel highly recommended, was able to speak in Dr. Etzel’s place. Dr. Karr is a board-certified pediatrician with a doctorate in epidemiology. Her research involves a large study of the impact of ambient air pollution on infant respiratory health. She is an acting assistant professor with the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics and sees patients at the UW Pediatric Clinic at Roosevelt. She is also the director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (one of only 12 in the U.S., Canada and Mexico), setting the direction of the Unit and responding to queries from health care providers, government officials and families regarding health risks associated with environmental exposures.
Dr. Karr did an excellent job presenting new and emerging research on air pollution and human health and what that means for all of us. She shared with us the mounting evidence that demonstrates the need to take further action to prevent children’s exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Once again, all 2005 lectures were held at the Seattle Art Museum, which for a second year in a row, offered their lecture hall at nearly cost to the Foundation. As in 2004, admission charge of $10 (or three lectures for $25) included a reception immediately following the lecture where participants and speakers continued lively discussions on the topic of the evening. In 2005, Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits were offered for nurses as well as physicians. Thanks to SAM for donating their lecture hall at cost and thanks to all the SBLF volunteers that helped with registration on each of this year’s three evenings.
Another measure of the success of the series has been the quality and depth of our seminar partners. Partners agree to publicize the lecture series to their members and constituencies. We are proud to say that all our 2004 partners returned and that some other prestigious organizations signed on for 2005.