As the international humanitarian community mobilizes to respond to the natural disaster caused by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, there continues to be an increasing environmental and public health threat from the country’s compromised nuclear power plant. The globalization of this crisis links us all, and the Schools of Public Health faculty, alumni and students have responded through offering various responses and support.
ASPH will continue to update this list of SPH context experts, training and technical assistance offered by member-schools, and other resources & information, as they become available.
|Content Experts from Schools of Public Health:|
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health
- Dr. Steven M. Becker, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, was invited to write a commentary on the nuclear crisis in Fukushima for the current issue of British Medical Journal. He was asked to write the analysis based on his previous experience with nuclear disasters, including on-site work in Japan after the 1999 Tokai-mura nuclear accident, and field work in Ukraine and Belarus examining the continuing impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health
- Dr. Tom McKone, adjunct professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Division, was interviewed by Southern California Public Radio, Discovery Channel, CBS Evening News (national), KTVU Channel 2, KTSF 26, Wall Street Journal Digital Network, San Francisco Chronicle, Marketwatch and The New York Times - Bay Citizen Edition.
- Dr. Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health, was interviewed by ABC TV and KPFA Radio.
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia, participated in a press conference on Capitol Hill with Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey on the Japan nuclear crisis. Dr. Redlener is quoted in a CNN article on distribution of potassium Iodide near nuclear plants and U.S. preparedness for potential disasters.
Dr. Redlender was recently interviewed by USA Today on comforting survivors of the aftermath. He was also interviewed by TIME on Japan’s resilience after the crisis, to access the article, click here. Furthermore, Dr. Redlener and Mr. Mark Shriver, both members of the National Commission on Children and Disasters, wrote a commentary for The Huffington Post entitled “Japan: What if It Happened Here?”, which appeared online on March 21. He has also spoken with Nancy Grace (CNN); CBS Radio; the John Tesh Radio program, WNYC and was quoted in CQ Weekly.
Dr. Norman Kleiman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia, discussed the possible health consequences from the ongoing nuclear crisis on PBS Newshour. To view the segment or read the transcript, click here. He was also interviewed on ABC Nightline ("Japan's Nuclear Nightmare"), CNBC Squawk Box ("Radiation Risk"), and MSNBC.com on food safety.
Dr. David Brenner, professor of Environmental Health Science at Columbia and director of the Center for Radiological Research, was profiled in The New York Times' Science Times article “Scientist at Work,” which discussed the health effects from radiation leaks in Japan.
Dr. Brenner wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal on the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. To read the article, click here.
- Various faculty members were interviewed by the media on the crisis in Japan and recovery efforts. Topics covered include short and long term public and mental health consequences of the disaster, U.S. disaster preparedness, nuclear emergency preparedness, and health effects from radiation exposure. This is a list of some of the outlets (to date) with links where available: ABC 20/20 (Click on 'Risks in the US' Part 4), The New York Times, Time Blog (CNN), Associated Press, In the Arena, The Daily Beast, Piers Morgan (Transcript), People’s World (Blog), Associated Press, ProPublica, ABC News, ABC Radio Los Angeles, Bottom Line, MSNBC Caught on Camera, and MSNBC Hardball with Chris Mathews.
Drexel University School of Public Health
University of Georgia College of Public Health
Dr. Cham Dallas, a Georgia professor who specializes in emergency preparedness and disaster response, was a frequent guest on CNN
and also interviewed by USA Today
, International Business Times
, the Associated Press
, local NBC news affiliate
, and various online publications. He also contracted with CBS where he was routinely interviewed to evaluate breaking news developments and offer background on several technical points related to nuclear power plants.
Dr. Travis Glenn, associate professor of environmental health, has spent much of the past 15 years studying the effects of radioactivity on wildlife, especially the long-term genetic effects due to low doses. He worked for nearly a decade at the school’s Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL), which is located on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. This 310 square mile site is home to five retired nuclear reactors that produced nuclear materials for US weapons which have also had some minor releases of radioactivity into the environment (some of which persists nearly 50 years later). As part of his work at SREL, he had the opportunity to conduct research at Chornobyl in collaboration with researchers at the International Radioecology Laboratory. He recently wrote about the current crisis in Japan and its potential effects in a post available here.
Harvard School of Public Health
- The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health held the event: Response to the Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Disaster Leadership in Action on March 16. Video of the event and discussion is available here.
- Dr. Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and emergency medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, spoke withThe Boston Globe regarding responders role in international humanitarian response. To read the article, click here
- Dr. John Boice, Harvard alum and an international authority on radiation’s effects on human health, spoke to NPR’s All Things Considered about the potential risks of leaks from a quake-damaged nuclear power plant. To access the interview and transcript, click here.
University of Iowa College of Public Health
Mr. John Wocher, an honorary alumnus and executive vice president of Kameda Medical Center in Kamogawa, Japan. Since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, Mr. Wocher has been sharing first-hand accounts of the complex challenges confronting his hospital as it responds to the disaster. His accounts are viewable here.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Jonathan Links, a radiation expert and director of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Public Health Preparedness, recorded a Q&A about the Japan crisis for the school’s website, which is accessible here
. He’s also spoken with numerous media outlets including USA Today, TIME
, ABC, CBS and Voice of America.
On March 15, Dean Michael Klag sent a message of condolence to the school’s community and urged everyone to contribute to aid organizations working Japan. The public letter can be viewed here.
University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health
Dr. Donald Milton and Dr. Amir Sapkota with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health in are collaborating with faculty in the department of atmospheric and oceanic science to evaluate models of global air mass movement and likely impacts on North America from the disasters in Japan. Some of the models they are working on are also relevant to local dispersion around Japan as well. Yet, these local models require more detailed information than is currently available. The role of Dr. Milton and Dr. Sapkota, in terms of public health, has been to help interpret the risk information and translate it into understandable information for the news media on the benefits and risks to "sheltering in place" given the likely sources of exposure from air, ground, deposition, and ingestion. They have also been interpreting the utilities' use of "administrative controls," i.e. rotation of workers in and out of the high exposure zones, as a means of mitigating and distributing the risk to workers. So far, the researchers have spoken with the Associated Press
and the local Fox affiliate television station.
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Dr. Andrew Maynard, director of the university’s Risk Science Center, has devoted daily entries on the center’s blog to the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster and its implications to public health. There is also a twitter feed so people can follow updates on potential health information. To view this information, visit http://umrscblogs.org/
Several faculty members are available to speak about public health matters related to the earthquake, tsunami and reactors. To see their contact information, click here
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health
Dr. David Richardson, associate professor of epidemiology whose work focuses on environmental, radiation and injury epidemiology, has answered questions from the media (including the BBC
, The Herald News (New Zealand)
, Toronto Post
and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow
) about Japan’s nuclear reactors and health risks from the radiation. Dr. Richardson has studied cancer incidence at Three Mile Island and the effects of industrial toxins and radiation on human health. To date, he has also been interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, The Gazette (Montreal)
, TIME magazine
, Fox News
, The National Post (Canada),
and The Vancouver Observer
SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health
- Dean Pascal James Imperato interviewed by Forbes on the Tsunami's impact on public health. To read the article, click here.
University of Texas School of Public Health
Dr. Robert Emery, vice president for safety, health, environment & risk management for UTexas and appointed member of the Texas Radiation Advisory Board, was interviewed on local NBC affiliate KPRC-TV about the radiation threat in Japan. To view the interview, click here.
|Training and Technical Assistance from Schools of Public Health:|
Just in Time training sponsored by the Columbia University Regional Learning Center and recorded on March 22, 2011. Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at the Columbia University Medical Center, provides a primer on radiation exposure, addressing the scientific facts and common misconceptions. His discussion focuses on the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan as well as the implications of the catastrophe on radiation preparedness efforts in the U.S.
Perspectives on the Current Crisis in Japan presentation from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, featuring speakers and a panel of experts who offered insights into how people can make sense of events on this scale and what can be learned as public health professionals from Japan’s tragedy. Hosted by Dean Linda P. Fried, the featured speakers were Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center; Ms. Yasuko Nagamatsu, senior assistant professor in International Nursing, St. Luke's College of Nursing, Tokyo; and Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health.
Just-in-Time lectures and the disaster in Japan - University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Disaster Response in Japan: What You Need to Know If You Might Go - Just in Time Training from Dr. Richard Garfield sponsored by the Columbia University Regional Learning Center
Community Management of Low-Dose Radiological Events (originally delivered on July 13, 2010) - On-Demand Webcast by South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Community Management of High-Dose Radiological Events (originally delivered on December 10, 2010) -On-Demand Webcast by South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Defense Against the Radiological Threat - Online course currently available from South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Management of Radiological Casualties - Online course currently available from South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Radiation Protection - Online course currently available from South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Community Management of High-Dose Radiological Events - Online course currently available from South Central Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
|Other Resources & Information:|
Crisis in Japan: medical and public health implications of a radiation emergency – April 5. This just-in-time webinar, hosted by the American Medical Association, will educate physicians and other health care professionals on medical and public health implications of radiation events from scenarios of individual patient exposure to a population-based exposure.
Yale-Tulane MOC Special Report – Japan - March 28, 2011 [Power Point]
Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, and Radiation Event - March 2011 - Disaster Information Management Research Center, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Bridging the Gaps: Public Health and Radiation Emergency Preparedness - Center for Disease Control and Prevention conference from March 21-24, 2011
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Last updated on April 20, 2011