Martinos Special Mini-Series on Global Warming
One of my greatest fears is that the major strides that the public health community has made over the past 50 years will be derailed by mass-scale ecosystem degradation and anthropogenic environmental change. The crux of planetary health is understanding the human health impacts of environmental change from processes like climate change, biodiversity loss, land use change, wildlife population collapse, among others. In my presentation, I will present my views on the food security and nutritional impacts of terrestrial wildlife and marine fishery declines, drawing both on my collaborative efforts with interdisciplinary researchers and on my independent research programs in Madagascar over the past 17 years. I will also speak about the development of the Planetary Health Alliance, a consortium supporting the growth of a rigorous, policy-focused, transdisciplinary field of applied research aimed at understanding and addressing the human health impacts of anthropogenic environmental change.
About the Speaker:
I am an ecologist and epidemiologist interested in the interface of ecosystem service provisioning and human health, specifically in the context of global trends in biodiversity loss and ecosystem transformation. With a wide range of colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, I am studying the human health impacts of ecosystem services. Since 1999, I have been conducting ecological and public health research in Madagascar and am fluent in several local dialects of Malagasy. Most broadly, I am interested in local people’s dependence on natural resources for obtaining adequate health. This interest has led to various studies into connections between marine and terrestrial wildlife consumption and the incidence of micronutrient deficiencies, the importance of botanical ethnomedicines and geophagy to local health, the eco-epidemiology of malaria and the human microbiome given current trends in biodiversity loss and land use change, and the role of green spaces and national parks in benefiting mental health. Through funding from the Wellcome Trust, Rockefeller Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Darwin Initiative, I am able to work on a breadth of topics under the umbrella of planetary health.