Faculty in the Global Public Health and the Common Good are committed to advancing research in a diverse range of fields. Students are invited to participate in this research and to become involved in projects of significant importance to modern societies.
Areas of major research interest within the program are:
- The spread of pandemics,
- Nutrition and health.
- Health impacts of pollution and climate change, and
- The ethical and legal foundations of public health
The Global Observatory on Planetary Health was established in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College in 2018. The Observatory quantifies the impacts of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss on human health and well-being, the economy and human capital. It develops science-based solutions for protecting the planetary environment, preventing disease, saving lives and advancing social justice. The Observatory is an interdisciplinary collaboration whose members are drawn from schools and departments across Boston College.
The work of the Global Observatory on Planetary Health is inspired and guided by Pope Francis’ teaching in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, calling on all of us to care for our planet - our Common Home, end social and economic injustice, and prevent the disease, disability and premature death that fall disproportionately upon the poor.
The Observatory is deeply committed to communication. It makes its findings widely available to researchers, policy makers, civil society, the media and the global public through carefully curated, science-driven, impactful reports. Recent reports have examined Air Pollution in India; Pollution and Economic Development in Africa; The Human Health Benefits of Climate Mitigation, Pollution Prevention, and Preservation of Biological Diversity; and Human Health and Ocean Pollution. These reports are already influencing energy and environment policy within countries and internationally
The Observatory continues the work of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, co-led by Observatory Director Dr. Philip Landrigan. The Lancet Commission found that pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world, responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths each year. It reported additionally that pollution can be prevented and that pollution prevention safeguards health, saves lives, slows the pace of climate change and preserves biological diversity.
To advance its work, the Observatory has established formal partnerships in research with UN Environment and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco. Its work is supported by UN Environment, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, the Barr Foundation and the Minderoo Foundation.
In all of its work, the Observatory trains and mentors post-doctoral fellows, undergraduate and graduate students and thus builds capacity in planetary health for future generations.