Presentation: Public Health and the Urban Built Environment

  • Published: 2012-10-21
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In October 21st, 2012, Dr. Jonathan Patz from University of Wisconsin-Madison, will give a presentation, titled “Public Health and the Urban Built Environment”, to CRE faculty and students in Room 315 of Teaching building at 10:30am.


In both China and the United States, there has been a steady increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.  These stem, in large part, from unhealthy behaviors including poor diet, smoking, and urban design – especially with regard to transportation by vehicles with the internal combustion engine and urban sprawl's greater distances required to travel. These factors make "active transport" (by walking or biking) less convenient, and as as result, promote unhealthy sedentary lifestyles.  This presentation will review some examples of poorly designed urban features, and detail a case study of how low-carbon transportation in the Midwest US and other parts of the world can yield tremendous benefits to human health and cost savings for local government.


Jonathan Patz, MD, MPH, is Professor & Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He Co-chaired the health expert panel of the US National Assessment on Climate Change and was a Convening Lead Author for the United Nations/World Bank Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  For the past 15 years, Dr. Patz has been a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) – the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.


Dr. Patz has written over 90 peer-reviewed scientific papers, a textbook addressing the health effects of global environmental change, and most recently, a co-edited five-volume Encyclopedia of Environmental Health (2011).  He has been invited to brief both houses of Congress, served on several scientific committees of the National Academy of Sciences, and federal agency science advisory boards for both CDC and EPA. From 2006 to 2010, Dr. Patz served as Founding President of the International Association for Ecology and Health.  In addition to sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Patz received an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows Award in 2005, shared the Zayed International Prize for the Environment in 2006, and earned the distinction of becoming a UW-Madison Romnes Faculty Fellow in 2009. 


Aside from directing the university-wide UW Global Health Institute, Professor Patz has faculty appointments in the Nelson Institute, Center 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). 


Dr. Patz earned medical board certification 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.