Moving into a New Decade of Science and Civility with Your Support

Elise Miller, MEd
CHE Director

Rereading CHE’s e-newsletter introductions published over this past year in recognition of CHE’s 10th anniversary, I am reminded how fortunate we are to work with such an array of truly remarkable leaders—leaders, like you, who are providing the critical thinking and unwavering commitment we need to move towards a healthier, more just and sustainable world. From the first piece in January 2012 by Philip Lee, MD, Former United States Assistant Secretary of Health and CHE’s Chair, to last month’s artful essay by Pam Miller, Executive Director of the Alaska Coalition Against Toxics and coordinator of CHE-Alaska, each introduction (2012 CHE newsletters) highlighted a different sector where CHE partners play a significant role in shaping environmental health research and policy.

Diabetes/obesity, healthy aging, reproductive health, and breast cancer are among the areas in which we’ve been most active. CHE has also been able to drive critical thinking on the emerging health science related to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and cumulative impacts. Another major thrust of our work this past year has been finding ways to articulate a complexity model for understanding how cumulative stressors—meaning not only chemicals, but other factors including the built, food, natural, socioeconomic and psychosocial environments—can result in a range of diseases and disabilities. In addition, our Environmental Health Primary Prevention trainings have educated a new cadre of professionals working in the areas of breast cancer, reproductive health and healthy aging about environmental health science who are now integrating this newfound knowledge in their respective sectors.

In other areas, CHE’s new quarterly “Top 10” list, which summarizes the science and related issues we think have been the most critical and course-changing over the previous three months, has already gotten high marks from readers. We have also expanded our social media presence through the CHE blog and Twitter and have more followers by the day. And of course, our national partnership calls with leading scientists on cutting-edge emerging research continues to be a cornerstone of our service to the field.

Peter Whitehouse, Case Western University and The Intergenerational School, and Gail Christopher, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, discuss environmental health at the Healthy Environments Across Generations conference, June 2012

But how do we find the energy to keep on task as we absorb the daily deluge of often depressing articles on the latest studies and related articles in our field? Connecting with each other not only through the mind, but the heart, seems essential, but all too rare.With our meeting, Healthy Environments Across Generations, at the New York Academy of Medicine last June, we attempted to do just that. Not only did colleagues have a chance to discuss research across a wide range of sectors but to embody that knowledge and relate to each other through arts and music as well. One participant captured the essence of that experience with this note:

Thank you for visioning and producing two of the most fulfilling days of my adult life. I felt so moved and engaged, challenged and welcomed, useful and connected, in ways that matter to me on such a deep level.

We hope as you move into the New Year that CHE can continue to be a resource not only for impeccable scientific information and analyses, but for vision and inspiration, thereby energizing our collective efforts to put health at the heart of our common future.

Conceived in a few people’s minds just a decade ago, CHE has evolved—with careful, concerted stewardship by many—into a thriving, active community bound by “science and civility.” We intend to continue and expand this network and vision, and hope you continue to find our work worthy. If CHE has provided you with the information and inspiration you’ve needed to bolster the effectiveness of your work, we ask that you make a donation today. Your gift will allow us to move into our second decade with the kind of nimbleness and acuity needed today to ensure we all enjoy a healthy tomorrow.

With gratitude and our very best wishes for a healthy, peaceful 2013.

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