Caribbean Planetary Health Conference hosted by the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS)

Event Date(s): 19/01/2020

Location: UWI St. Augustine, Learning Resource Centre (LRC)

The Entrepreneurship and Business Transformation Office, Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) presents the Caribbean Planetary Health Conference under the theme, Building Resilient Health Systems for Climate Change in the Caribbean.

Keynote speakers include: Prof. Jonathan Patz, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Prof. Christopher Oura, UWI St. Augustine; Dr. Maida Galvez, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Prof. Samuel Myers, Harvard and Dr. Carlos Faerron, Co-founder and Director of the InterAmerican Centre for Global Health (CISG).

There will also be a speaker from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Sustainable Development and Environmental Health (SDE), Dr. Jonathan Drewry MPH, RS, DrPH.

The conference takes place on January 19, 2020 at the Learning Resource Centre (LRC). Registration begins at 7.30am. General: $200 | Students: $100.

To register please email Jane.Sookdhan-Browne@sta.uwi.edu or call 645-3232 ext. 5046.

About the Conference

The impact of climate change on health is a relatively new topic and its feasibility is of utmost importance. However, the opportunities, challenges and limitations have yet to be determined. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Public Health as “all organised measures (whether public or private) to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole”). In fulfilling the public health mandate, new problems have been created which impacts upon human survival at its core. Human life expectancy has increased steadily from 1840 to present day and is expected to increase in the future), World poverty rates have remained constant but slowly been decreasing and child mortality rates, although not sufficient, has been reducing. The outcome of this however has been increased carbon dioxide emissions, ocean acidification, higher energy consumption, tropical rain forest loss, increased demand for water and increased fertiliser use. This period of environmental change created by human exploitation of the planet has been defined as the Anthropocene epoch – the new geological era.

The era is being defined by expected increased deaths due to climate change, biodiversity loss, undernutrition, lack of potable water and soil degradation. To mitigate the impact of these problems, it has been advocated that planetary health education be introduced, reduction of food waste, utilising healthier diets with low environmental impact, coordinated local and international policies to create a healthier environment, reduce water wastage, end deforestation, increase access to family planning facilities and plan for healthier and sustainable cities.

This Conference aims to:

  • Define and explain what planetary health is.
  • Identify planetary health challenges faced by the health sector
  • Explain and describe potential solutions which can be implemented within the Caribbean.

Keynote Speakers include:

Professor Jonathan Patz

Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH, (@jonathanpatz) is director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a professor and the John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment with appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences. For 15 years, Patz served as a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) –the organisation that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. He also co-chaired the health expert panel of the U.S. National Assessment on Climate Change, a report mandated by the U.S. Congress.

Patz is committed to connecting colleagues from across campus and communities around the world to improve health for all and is continually striving to integrate his research into teaching for students and communication to policy makers and the general public.

Patz has written over 90 peer­reviewed scientific papers, a textbook addressing the health effects of global environmental change and co‐edited the five­volume Encyclopaedia of Environmental Health (2011). He, most recently, co-edited “Climate Change and Public Health” (2015, Oxford University Press) and is leading a Massive Open Online Course “Climate Change Policy and Public Health.”

He has been invited to brief both houses of Congress and has served on several scientific committees of the National Academy of Sciences. Patz served as Founding President of the International Association for Ecology and Health.

In addition to directing the university-wide Global Health Institute, Patz has faculty appointments in the Nelson Institute, Centre for Sustainability & the Global Environment (SAGE) and the Department of Population Health Sciences. He also directs the NSF sponsored Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE).

Patz is double board-certified, earning medical boards in both Occupational/Environmental Medicine and Family Medicine and received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University (1987) and his Master of Public Health degree (1992) from Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Christopher Oura

Professor of Veterinary Virology in the Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine where he is leading a ‘One-Health’- based research programme concentrating on zoonotic and animal pathogens of importance within the Caribbean region. For more details, please click here.

Dr. Maida Galvez

Dr Maida Galvez is a paediatrician whose clinical, research, and advocacy work is dedicated to promoting healthy environments for children. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and the Department of Paediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where she is Founding Director of the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centre (NYSCEHC)—the first state-wide, publicly funded model for children’s environmental health clinical services in the United States. Since 2006, she has also served as Director of the Region 2 Paediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), a US Environmental Protection Agency and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) program that provides environmental health services to communities in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Through Mount Sinai-based National Institutes of Health funded projects, Dr Galvez works to translate emerging research into programs and policies that prevent and reduce environmental exposures for children, their families, and their communities. She previously served on the EPA’s federal advisory board for the Office of Children’s Health Protection and is a past president of District 2 Chapter 3 American Academy of Paediatrics.  She is a current member of the CDC/American Public Health Association National Environmental Health Partnership Council where she chairs the Council's Communications Work Group, serves on the Board of the Children's Environmental Health Network and on the Advisory Committee for the Parsons School of Design Healthy Materials Lab.

Professor Samuel Myers

Samuel Myers works at the intersection of human health and global environmental change. He received his BA from Harvard College, his MD from Yale Medical School, performed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and received his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a Principle Research Scientist, Planetary Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Planetary Health Alliance. He is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

For two years, Dr. Myers was the founding Field Manager of an integrated conservation and human health project in the Qomolangma Nature Preserve in Tibet. He then worked in the Global Health Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an AAAS fellow where he designed a new mechanism for administering and studying projects that integrate human health, population growth, and environmental change in developing countries. After two years as an AAAS fellow, Dr. Myers was hired by Conservation International as a Senior Director to run the Healthy Communities Initiative, a $5 million project to design and implement integrated conservation and human health activities in biodiversity hotspot regions around the world.

After finishing a clinical research fellowship in General Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Myers began a research career focused on quantifying the human health impacts of large scale, anthropogenic environmental change. He is currently the principle investigator on four transdisciplinary research projects that include:

  • Quantifying the impact of rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 on the nutrient content of crops and the impacts of these changes on the distribution of deficiencies of micronutrients like iron and zinc for the national populations of 176 countries;
  • quantifying the importance of access to terrestrial and marine wildlife species as a source of macro and micronutrients in the diets of subsistence populations;
  • quantifying the human health impacts of landscape fires in SE Asia and developing new tools that allow fine-grained modelling of the specific morbidity and mortality for a particular population attributable to specific land use types and geographic locations; and
  • modelling the nutritional vulnerability of different populations around the world to loss of animal pollinators with respect to specific micronutrients.

In addition, he is co-leading new research efforts focused on quantifying the nutritional importance of access to fisheries at both local (in Madagascar) and global scales. Dr. Myers is a Commissioner on the Rockefeller Foundation—Lancet Commission on Planetary Health and is the recipient of the Prince Albert II of Monaco—Institut Pasteur Award 2015 for “outstanding contributions to the field of global environmental and climatic changes and their impacts on human health.”

Dr. Carlos Faerron

Dr. Faerron is the co-founder and current director of the InterAmerican Centre for Global Health (CISG). CISG is the first global health hub in Central America and seeks to redefine the meaning of leadership and global health through innovative educational approaches.

Dr. Faerron began his career as a primary care doctor in a rural area of Costa Rica where he worked closely with migrant and indigenous populations. His work follows a health equity and human rights framework as a guiding principle and firmly believes in progress in health through community empowerment, research, and education. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Costa Rica, and his MSc. in International Health at Queen Mary University in Edinburgh and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Additional studies include Social Justice at the International Institute for Health and Development in Scotland and Social Innovation for Health from INCAE Business School. Dr. Faerron is a Fellow of the Central American Healthcare Initiative and adjunct faculty at the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at Harvard University and at the University of Maryland Graduate School.

Admission:General: $200 | Students: $100

Open to: | General Public | Staff | Student | Alumni |