NHS Professor's Work Garners White House Recognition

JULY 8, 2013 - A Georgetown professor has been invited by the White House to share her views with senior officials on protecting public health in a changing climate.

Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, a nurse who specializes in environmental health, will also be honored as a White House Champion of Change at the July 9 event for her leadership in raising awareness about climate-related health effects.

“I am honored to be acknowledged for my work in raising awareness and advocating for policy changes that will protect the public’s health in light of climate changes,” says Anderko, who holds the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Chair in Values Based Health Care at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

‘A National Voice’

Anderko is nationally known for her environmental work, including service on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee Research Workgroup.

She also served as lead author of the Catholic Health Association of the United States’ 2012 publication “Climate Change and Health: Is There a Role for the Health Care Sector?” Recently, she was a panelist for both the Climate Reality Project – founded by former vice president Al Gore – and the U.S. Climate Action Network.

“It is great to see Laura’s body of work recognized in such a prominent way,” says Martin Y. Iguchi, PhD, the school’s dean. “She is a national voice on environmental issues and exemplifies our efforts to use scientific evidence to inform policies that affect the public’s health.”

Champions of Change

Through the initiative, the White House recognizes individuals for extraordinary work in their communities on a variety of topics, according to the Champions of Change Web site.

In addition to her national work, Anderko is a member of the advisory committee for the Environment Initiative and teaches courses on health disparities and environmental justice.

“People are involved in climate change, but they often don’t understand the health implications,” she says. “A prominent event like this is a great opportunity to raise awareness. I am grateful to the American Lung Association and Health Care Without Harm for nominating me and to Georgetown University for supporting my work.”

Along with the other champions, Anderko will be recognized at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House.

By Bill Cessato