Events

Past Event

Toxic Docs: Opening the Secret Vaults of the World’s Largest Polluters

January 18, 2017
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
Allan Rosenfield Building, Room 532, 722 West 168th Street, New York

Speakers: 

  • Merlin ChowkwanyunDonald H. Gemson Assistant Professor, Sociomedical Sciences
  • David RosnerRonald H. Lauterstein Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, Co-Director, Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health

Merlin Chowkwanyun‘s work centers on three themes: the history of public health and health policy; racial inequality; and social movements. He is working on a book examining the development of post-WWII medical care and environmental health hazards in four regions (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Central Appalachia, and New York) and another about political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. With Adolph Reed, he is writing an essay collection that questions the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in disparities research (under contract, University of California Press). With the Center for Public Integrity, he is part of a group of environmental health journalists and historians on a database featuring millions of previously unseen corporate documents that have emerged in recent environmental health lawsuits. (More information is available at toxicdocs.org) He teaches courses on health advocacy and mixed methods.

David Rosner, PhD, MPH, focuses on research at the intersection of public health and social history and the politics of occupational disease and industrial pollution. He has been actively involved in lawsuits on behalf of cities, states and communities around the nation who are trying to hold the lead industry accountable for past acts that have resulted in tremendous damage to America’s children. Cases aimed at removing lead from children’s environments and compensating parents and governmental agencies for the costs of care and abatement of hazards in the home environment have grown out of his academic work. His work on the history of industry understanding the harms done by their industrial toxins has been part of law suits on behalf of asbestos workers and silicosis victims as well. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Dr. Rosner was University Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences’ National Academy of Medicine. In addition to numerous grants, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and a Josiah Macy Fellow. He has been awarded the Distinguished Scholar’s Prize from the City University and the Viseltear Prize for Outstanding Work in the History of Public Health from the APHA, among others. Dr. Rosner has also been honored by the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and, with Gerald Markowitz, was awarded the Upton Sinclair Memorial Lectureship “For Outstanding Occupational Health, Safety, and Environmental Journalism by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.” Dr. Rosner is an author of many books on occupational disease, epidemics and public health. Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children, (University of California Press/Milbank Fund, 2013) details the recent conflicts at Johns Hopkins over studies of children placed in homes with low level lead exposure and what it says about public health research.

This event is part of the Food For Thought: Critical Reflections on the Social Sciences and Public Health Seminar Series at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.