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Environmental Health and Engineering

Faculty Research - Brian S. Schwartz, MD, MS

Dr. Schwartz’s research, teaching, and practice are each involved in three major focus areas:

1) the health effects of chemicals, primarily in the central nervous system;

Patterns of change in cognitive function with aging
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2) the health effects of land use and the built environment, including the influence of “sprawl” on health; and,

3) the public health implications of climate change, the coming era of energy scarcity, and the challenges of sustainability.

Myriad Linkages
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He is Co-director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and he also co-directs the Environmental Health Institute, a joint effort of the Geisinger Health System’s Henry Hood Center for Health Research and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Environmental Health Institute is a very rich research opportunity because of the collaboration with the Geisinger Health System. Geisinger provides primary care services to over 400,000 patients in 31 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, and specialty care services to almost 2 million additional patients. The health system has had an electronic health record that was in all its 41 community practice clinics and four hospitals by 2001, allowing access to a decade of health data on these patients. These 31 counties have a number of environmental health concerns, including the legacy of thousands of abandoned coal mines, new concerns about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale, many animal feeding operations including concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and decades of low density, single use, automobile-centered development (“sprawl”). The opportunities for environmental epidemiologic research there are thus outstanding. We have ongoing projects in each of the aforementioned areas.