Foremost Expert to Discuss Built Environment, Public Health

Friday, March 27, 2015
“I believe we have built America in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy.” -Dr. Richard Jackson

As the treatment of chronic diseases nears 90% of all dollars spent on health care in America, and efforts at reform meet public frustration and challenges in court, there is an increasing focus on disease prevention and health promotion

Efforts to improve public health are considering not only the way we treat our bodies individually, but also how we choose to build our communities as a collective.

Dr. Richard Jackson, one of the leading voices in the movement to shape our “built environment” with an emphasis on public health, will speak at UNC Charlotte next month in an event organized by CHHS and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

Former chair of UCLA’s Environmental Health Sciences Department and former Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, Dr. Jackson has spent much of his career studying the relationship between the contours of a city and the health of its inhabitants.

Urban sprawl, a lack of green spaces, and roads unsafe for pedestrians are among the common aspects of the “built environment” harmful to public health, according to studies by Jackson and his colleagues.

It’s the type of ailments these factors contribute to that’s particularly surprising; advocates say public health epidemics like obesity, diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease can all be curbed by environmental health improvements.

Jackson is calling for a radical rethinking of the way we build our neighborhoods; he says it’s “time for a shift to communities designed to facilitate physical and mental well-being.”

This starts, he says, with a conversation between citizens and the development of a unified vision. Broad-based efforts at building public support are underway. Designing Healthy Communities, a four-part PBS series on the topic hosted by Jackson, premiered in 2011.

UNC Charlotte hopes Jackson’s April 8th talk—Building a Healthier Charlotte, will continue to encourage dialogue about a positive environmental health philosophy here in our own community.

The event comes as part of National Public Health Week, an initiative of the American Public Health Association that recognizes contributions in the field and highlights issues important to national public health.

The talk is co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Arts + Architecture, Department of Public Health Sciences Integrated Network for Social Sustainability, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, and Center for Professional & Applied Ethics 

Please RSVP below.

Event Details

April 8, 2015

Reception 6 - 7 PM | Program 7- 8 PM

UNC Charlotte Center City Campus


by: Wills Citty

"Charlotte Skyline" by James Willamore is licensed under CC by-S.A. 2.0