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Park Street Series

Event Calendar

park street corporation speaker series

fall 2017: The Health of the Planet

OCT 12  •  NOV 2  •  NOV 16

Philip Landrigan

The Impact Of Pollution On Planetary Health: Emergence of an Underappreciated Risk Factor

Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, DIH

Thursday, October 12, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100
Boston College

Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, DIH, is Professor of Environmental Medicine, Public Health and Pediatrics and Dean for Global Health in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and leader in public health and preventive medicine. Dr. Landrigan’s pioneering research on the effects of lead poisoning in children contributed to the U.S. government’s decision to remove lead from gasoline and paint. His leadership of a National Academy of Sciences Committee on pesticides in children’s diets generated widespread understanding that children are uniquely vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the environment and helped to secure the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the only federal environmental law in the United States that contains explicit protections for the health of children. It led also to establishment of EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection. Dr. Landrigan was a leader in developing the National Children’s Study, the largest epidemiological study of children’s health and the environment ever launched in the United States. He has been centrally involved in the medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has consulted extensively to the World Health Organization. Dr. Landrigan currently chairs The Lancet-Mount Sinai Global Commission on Pollution & Health. Dr. Landrigan is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Boston College, Harvard Medical School and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is a 41-year veteran of the US Public Health Service and the US Navy.



Karl and Sally le Roux

Rural Medicine: A South African Perspective

Sally and Karl le Roux

Thursday, October 26, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Devlin Hall, Room 101
Boston College

Sally and Karl le Roux, a South African medical doctor couple, have worked since 2006 at a small rural facility called Zithulele Hospital in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, not far from where Nelson Mandela was born. Starting off with a team of only four doctors in a part of South Africa devastated by HIV, they often struggled to get through the massive patient load every day. Yet, they have drawn an ever-increasing number of doctors and allied health care workers to the hospital each year. Today, Zithulele Hospital is widely regarded as one of the best rural government hospitals in South Africa, with a team of sixteen doctors and twenty health care workers in the allied health professions.  

Sally qualified as a doctor at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2000. She has a Masters in International Health from Uppsala University, Diplomas in the Management of HIV and Child Health, and a special interest in Paediatric HIV.  In 2016 she became the founding principal of the Zithulele Independent School, now teaching first and second grades along with her work in the Zithulele Paediatric HIV clinic. 

Karl qualified at UCT in 1999, and he also has a Masters in International Health from Uppsala, with Diplomas in Obstetrics and Anaesthetics. He was the Chairperson of the Rural Doctors' Association of South Africa from 2008 to 2012 and is an Honorary Lecturer in the Primary Health Care Directorate of UCT and the Family Medicine Department of Walter Sisulu University. Since 2013, he has run several longitudinal studies in the communities around Zithulele Hospital examining what happens to babies born at the hospital and their mothers over time. His special interests include HIV medicine, providing good maternity care, the role of community health workers in primary care and how to make rural hospitals sustainable.  

This fall, Sally and Karl are teaching a policy task force about Maternal and Child Health in South Africa at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Michael Pollan photo by Fran Collin

Food and Climate Change: A Conversation with Michael Pollan hosted by Juliet Schor

Michael Pollan

Thursday, Noveber 2, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Gasson Hall, Room 100
Boston College

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture.  He is the author of numerous bestsellers including In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire.  His book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, was an immediate # 1 New York Times bestseller upon publication. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (April 2013).  Documentaries on PBS and Netflix have also showcased Pollan’s work.  Contributing to the New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards and in 2009 Pollan was named one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” by Newsweek magazine.  His essays have appeared in many anthologies and other magazines including Harper’s (where he served for many years as executive editor), Mother Jones, Gourmet, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gardens Illustrated, and The Nation. Michael Pollan was chosen by Time Magazine for the 2010 Time 100 in the Thinkers category.  In 2014 Michael Pollan was awarded the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, and gardening.

Michael Pollan will be interviewed by Boston College’s Juliet Schor, professor of Sociology, whose research focuses on work, consumption, and sustainability.  Her interests include the sharing economy, climate change, and alternative food provisioning.



Rob Nixon

Environmental Martyrdom and Defenders of the Forest

Rob Nixon

Thursday, November 16, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Yawkey Athletics Center, Murray Function Room
Boston College

Rob Nixon holds the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professorship in Humanities and Environment at Princeton University. He is the author of four books, most recently Dreambirds: the Natural History of a Fantasy and Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, which won numerous awards, including the 2012 Sprout prize from the International Studies Association for the best book in environmental studies.

Nixon writes frequently for the New York Times. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Guardian, The Nation, London Review of Books, The Village Voice, Slate, Truthout, Huffington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, Critical Inquiry, Public Culture and elsewhere. Nixon’s work is particularly focused on the relationship between accelerating rates of environmental change and rising rates of economic disparity. How do rich and poor communities experience the impacts of climate change differently? In what ways do rich and poor communities suffer unequal exposure to the risks of a rapidly changing planet?  And in what ways do rich and poor enjoy unequal access to diminishing resources in a time of heightened climatic stress? Such questions, he believes, demand imaginative, ethical, technological and political responses.