Plenary Session II
Dr.Eric Chivian, M.D.
Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1985
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School, USA
TOPIC - Understanding
The Dependence Of Human Health On Nature
Pleanary Session Address II: Nobel
Laureate Dr. Eric Chivian, renowned for his work to protect the
environment, will address the way human health is affected by nature.
Global warming, environmental pollution, depletion
of the ozen layer and soil erosion - are just a few of the topics
that one cannot avoid seeing in the headlines these days. As more
and more people around the globe are becoming aware of the direct
relationship between nature and human health, it's only a matter
of time before "environment" and "nature" will
emerge as a new space for cutting-edge innovation.
The next 25 years will see a significant increase
in the number of innovations and new ventures in this area. Measuring,
monitoring, pollution prevention, pollution control, and clean energy
will become the hottest investment opportunities, just like security
has become an important field after the 9/11 tragedy. Understanding
the big picture will allow us to see the scope of opportunities
that lie ahead of us. "Big picture" being the key word
Dr. Chivian is a co-founder of International Physicians
for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace
Prize. He also founded the Center for Health and the Global Environment
at Harvard Medical School in 1996, where he currently serves as
Dr. Chivian holds an A.B. degree cum Laude in Biochemical
Sciences from Harvard College, and a M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
He is Founder and Director of the Center for Health and the Global
Environment, and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
at Harvard Medical School. In 1980, he co-founded (with Professors
Bernard Lown, Herbert Abrams, and James Muller) International Physicians
for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace
During the past 14 years, he has worked to involve physicians in
the United States and abroad in efforts to protect the environment,
and to increase public understanding of the potential human health
consequences of global environmental change. As part of these activities,
he designed and organized the 1992 MIT/Harvard School of Public
Health symposium “Human Health and the Environment: the Medical
Consequences of Environmental Degradation”, and was senior
editor and author of MIT Press’ Critical Condition: Human
Health and the Environment. The book, published in 1993, the first
on the subject for a general audience, has been used as a text at
several medical schools, schools of public health, and universities
in the United States and abroad. Editions have been published in
German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Persian.
In 1996, Dr. Chivian founded and became director of the Center
for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School,
the first center at a medical school in the United States focusing
on the human health dimensions of global environmental change. The
Center (designated an official “Collaborating Center”
of the United Nations Environment Programme) has developed and directed
the Harvard Medical School course “Human Health and Global
Environmental Change” (which has been disseminated to 55 other
medical schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S. and abroad);
has held briefings and courses for the U.S. Congress; has been a
consultant to the U.S. State Department, the Department of Defense,
NOAA, NASA, and the EPA; and has advised the Environmental Ministers
of the G8 nations on the health impacts of global climate change.
Currently, he directs a project for the World Health Organization,
United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment
Programme that is preparing the most comprehensive report yet available
“Biodiversity: Its Importance to Human Health,” which
will be presented to the United Nations Convention on Biological
Diversity, the U.S. Congress, the European Union, and other policy-maker
bodies. The report will be published as a book in 2005 by Oxford
University Press with the working title Sustaining Life: How Human
Health Depends on Biodiversity.
In 1978, Dr. Chivian, with Drs. Helen Caldicott and Ira Helfand,
revived Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), and two years
later, he designed and organized the first major public symposium
on “The Medical Consequences of Nuclear War,” which
achieved widespread international press attention and which catalyzed
PSR’s national campaign to prevent nuclear war.
Dr. Chivian was the senior editor and author of Last Aid: The Medical
Dimensions of Nuclear War, published in 1982 by W. H. Freeman and
Co. (Scientific American), which also appeared in German, Italian,
and Japanese editions. In the mid 1980’s, he directed the
first scientific survey of American and Soviet teenagers’
attitudes about nuclear war and the future for the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences and MIT’s Center for International Studies.
Dr. Chivian was also Director of PSR’s Project on Global
Environmental Change and Health from 1993 to 1996. During this time,
he was senior author of a report prepared for the White House, “Environmental
Health: Issues for Health Care Reform”, was a consultant to
the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the White House
Office of Science and Technology Policy, and a U.S. Government reviewer
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II
2nd Assessment Report.
Dr. Chivian has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has
appeared on national television and radio and in the print media
in several countries. He has over 40 publications. His area of interest
is the human health consequences of habitat degradation, species
loss, and ecosystem disruption.
Chivian E, Roberts C, Bernstein A (2004). Replies to letters, "How
much at risk are cone snails?" Science V. 303:954. Download
a PDF file here.
Chivian E, Bernstein A, guest editorial (2004) Embedded in Nature:
Human Health and Biodiversity, Environmental Health Perspectives
112:1. Download a PDF file here.
Chivian E. (editor), Biodiversity: Its Importance to Human Health,
Interim Executive Summary, 2002, 2003 (2nd printing), Center for
Health and the Global Environment, Boston. Download a PDF file here.
Chivian E, Roberts C, Bernstein A (2003) The Threat to Cone Snails.
Science 302: 5644. Download a PDF file here.
Chivian E, Sullivan S (2002) Biodiversity and Human Health, Conservation
Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice ( Aguirre AA, Ostfeld RS,
Tabor GM, House C. Pearl MC, editors). Oxford University Press,
New York, pp. 182-193
Chivian E (2001) Species Loss and Ecosystem Disruption: The Implications
for Human Health. Canadian Medical Association Journal Jan: 164.
Download a pdf file here.
Grifo FT, Chivian E (1999) The Implications of Biodiversity Loss
for Human Health, in The Living Planet in Crisis: Biodiversity Science
and Policy. Columbia University Press, New York.
Chivian E (1997) Global Environmental Degradation and Biodiversity
Loss: Implications for Human Health, in Biodiversity and Human Health
Island Press, Washington DC.
McCally M, Last J, Chivian E (1994) Medicine and the Environment,
in Principles of Medical Biology, Jai Press, London, England.
Chivian E (1994) The Ultimate Preventive Medicine. Technology Review
Chivian E, McCally M, Hu H, Haines A, eds. (1993) Critical Condition:
Human Health and the Environment. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, London,
Chivian E. Species Extinction and Biodiversity Loss: The Implications
for Human Health (1993). In Critical Condition: Human Health and
the Environment. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, London, England
"Global Environmental Issues: Effects on the Atmosphere and
the Biosphere," with Mario Molina as part of the Ford/MIT Nobel
Laureate Lecture Series. March 6, 2003. Watch with RealPlayer at:
Bio courtesy of Havard