Planetary Health: Protecting Our World to Protect Ourselves

The field of Planetary Health has emerged in recent years, based on the notion that transgressing planetary limits—a hallmark of the now-defined Anthropocene Epoch that acknowledges human impact on the planet—is incompatible with continued human thriving. Professor Howard Frumkin, M.D., DrPH, an expert on the intersection between public health and the built environment, climate change, energy policy, and nature contact, will keynote an evening that defines planetary health and how the concept can be used to find a way forward for humans and the planet. Planetary Health recognizes safeguarding human health requires maintaining the health of the planet on which life depends. (See graphic below.)

Doors open at 5 p.m., and the free program begins at 5:30 and includes the keynote address, response from panel and Q&A. It will be followed by a ticketed reception with Frumkin and panelists at 6:45 p.m. — for $10, enjoy the reception, one free drink and hors d’oeuvres.

Frumkin, former dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventing, and current professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences will trace the evolution of field of Planetary Health, explore how a variety of planetary changes may threaten human health, and outline some strategies that blend environmental stewardship with public health, on a global scale. Panelists representing UW-Madison’s environmental, medial and social sciences will respond to Frumkin’s talk. They include:

  • Monica White, Environmental Sociology and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Gregg Mitman, Medical History and the Nelson Institute
  • Lyric Bartholomay, Veterinary Medicine and Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease
  • Maureen Durkin, Population Health Sciences
  • Rick Keller, International Division
  • Jonathan Patz, Global Health Institute

Frumkin is a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health, where he served as dean from 2010-2016. He is an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, and epidemiologist, who has worked in academia and public service. From 2005 to 2010 he held leadership roles at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first as director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR), and later as Special Assistant to the CDC Director for Climate Change and Health. During his tenure, NCEH/ATSDR created programs in Climate Change and in Healthy Community Design; launched training programs for college students, doctoral students, and post-docs; expanded its Biomonitoring and Environmental Public Health Tracking programs; and launched its National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures.

Frumkin’s research interests include public health aspects of the built environment, climate change, energy policy, and nature contact. He currently serves on the Boards of the Bullitt Foundation and the Seattle Parks Foundation, on the NASEM Committee on Measuring Community Resilience, as Chair of the Wellcome Trust “Our Planet, Our Health” Funding Committee, on the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (Harvard University), and on advisory committees to the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (Columbia University), the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (George Mason University), and the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (University of Toronto). Read more about Frumkin.

This event is hosted by the Global Health Institute. The UW-Madison International Division, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Office of Sustainability and are Galaxy Sponsors.

The Lancet created the infographic below that introduces Planetary Health.

Read the full Rockefeller-Lancet Commission report:
Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health