LSU Researchers Promote Global Environmental Health
The 19th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health (held August 29–September 1, 2022, Jeju Island, South Korea) brought together experts from around the world to share their knowledge about environmental exposures in a changing climate. The conference was hosted by Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology and included sessions on infectious disease, air pollution, water contamination, heavy metals, and nutrition, as well as pre-conference workshops, a poster session, and opportunities for networking.
Strategic Partnerships to Advance Global Environmental Health
The Pacific Basin Consortium (PBC), established in 1986, provides a unique forum for scientists, clinicians, industry professionals, government officials, students, and policy makers to address complex environmental and health issues and to develop and disseminate innovative strategies for tackling these issues in the Pacific Basin Region and beyond. Since 2004, the PBC has partnered with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program to develop a series of conferences designed to strengthen and extend relationships among researchers and professionals, with the ultimate goal of managing risk from environmental exposures in the Pacific Basin. William Suk, PhD, MPH, Director of the NIEHS Superfund Research Program, attended the conference, chaired a session on Environmental Impacts on Infectious Disease and gave a presentation on “Collaborative Research: The E-Asia Program” as part of the ”Programs to Ensure Children’s Wellbeing” session. Michelle Heacock, PhD, and Brittany Trottier, MPH, also from NIEHS, chaired the poster session and the student presentation session.
According to Stephania Cormier, PhD, who is Chair of the PBC Board of Directors, Director of the Louisiana State University Superfund Research Program, and Associate Vice President for STEM Research and Economic Development at LSU,
“Environmental health challenges facing countries in the Pacific Basin and around the world are complex, and addressing them requires individuals and organizations with diverse expertise and from geographically distinct backgrounds. The financial support to hold these conferences from NIEHS and other partners including the World Health Organization, Gwangju Institute for Science and Technology, and the Minderoo Foundation is critical to bring these experts together and to allow students, early career researchers, and young professionals to participate and learn to work in diverse and interdisciplinary groups.”
LSU Researchers Share Insight into Children’s Environmental Health and Infectious Disease
Dr. Cormier, along with Peter Sly, MD, DSc, from the University of Queensland in Australia and Antonio Pascale, MD, from the University of Montevideo in Uruguay, presented a pre-conference workshop on Children’s Environmental Health. According to Dr. Cormier, children who receive a higher “dose” of toxicants in a given environment, are less able to neutralize toxicants and live long enough for diseases with long latency periods to manifest. This workshop covered the principles underlying the children’s vulnerability and highlighted risks in specific environments. It was part of an ongoing series organized by the PBC in collaboration with the Network of World Health Organization Collaborating Centres for Children’s Environmental Health. The workshop also provided an opportunity for the engagement of a wider audience and made additional training on evaluation materials available to trainees. Dr. Cormier also presided over the opening ceremony and chaired the “New Trends in Air Pollution Research” symposium session.
Rebecca Christofferson, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, also attended the conference and spoke about how climate changes are integrally related to the emergence and expansion of vector-borne viruses. Dr. Christofferson reflected on the conference as follows:
“I was delighted to share my research and thoughts on climate change and (re)emerging mosquito-borne disease at the PBC Environmental Health Conference. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to learn about environmental health methodology and current and emerging topics as we are increasingly embracing the concept of One Health, which espouses the ideology that, to achieve a healthy planet, we must balance the health of humans, animals, and the environment. This meeting was unique in that it brought together people from different backgrounds and accomplished the decompartmentalization of science that is critical to the One Health approach to solutions to current and future global health problems.”
Dr. Stephania Cormier
LSU Superfund Research Program
LSU School of Veterinary Medicine