Dr. Richard J. Jackson, pediatrician and health policy expert, to present "Empowering Healthier Policies at the State and Local Levels," May 1

March 28, 2018

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Dr. Richard J. Jackson, a pediatrician and professor emeritus from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, will present the Gov. James J. Florio Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture, “Empowering Healthier Policies at the State and Local Levels,” on Tuesday, May 1 at the Bloustein School.

The lecture is free and open to the public and a reception will follow the event. To register, visit http://go.rutgers.edu/254r27fr.

Dr. Jackson, who is joining the Bloustein School as the 2018 Gov. James J. Florio Distinguished Visiting Scholar in April and May, has served in many leadership positions in both environmental health and infectious disease with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. For nine years he was Director of the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta and received the Presidential Distinguished Service award. In October, 2011 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Jackson notes that most Americans want to spend less time driving, to walk and to bike more, yet one third of us cannot drive because of cost, age or disability. Two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, raising our risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, and “adult onset” diabetes is now the more prevalent type in children. Increasing our physical activity is a crucial way to reduce these risks, and the medical leadership of the U.S. now endorses reducing these risks by changing built environments. Short trips should be walked or biked, and 55% of Americans report that they want to.

Yet, the U.S. does not make healthy behaviors easy. While 30% of trips in US metro areas are less than a mile, 65% of these trips are taken by car. Why not walk or bike? Often because the built environment is constructed in ways hostile to health. In this discussion, Dr. Richard Jackson will challenge all Americans to create places that improve physical, mental, social, and — yes — economic health, not undermine it, and offer strategies and success stories.

A Nutley, NJ native and graduate of the former New Jersey Medical School, he is recognized as one of the country’s leading spokespersons on policies and strategies to advance healthy communities, the integration of health into other sectors, and environmental impacts on health. Dr. Jackson has spearheaded many initiatives focused on integrating health into other sectors and in promoting democratic strategies to give communities and stakeholders a strong voice in addressing the upstream factors that affect health and health equity.

Dr. Jackson is popularly known in the U.S. for hosting a 2012 public television special, Designing Healthy Communities, which links to a separate book by the same name (J Wiley & Sons, October 2011).  In his role as California State Health Officer, he was instrumental in conceptualizing laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he was a national and international leader, including leading the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the U.S. population.

His visionary and impactful work has awarded him many honors including the National Breast Cancer Fund’s Hero Award; the Sedgewick Memorial Medal, the highest honor of the American Public Health Association; Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Public Health Law Association and New Partners for Smart Growth; and the John Heinz Award for Leadership on the Environment. In addition, he was named an honorary member of the American Academy of Landscape Architects for his work on exposure to pesticides.

In partnership with the offices of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt, & Fader LLC, in 2015 the Bloustein School recognized Gov. James J. Florio’s public service career through the endowment of a high-level visiting scholar. Governor Florio continues his service as a Senior Fellow for Public Policy at the Bloustein School, where he teaches classes and guest lectures for the next generation of policy makers. The visiting scholar is a former senior government official or policy practitioner, focusing on an issue that was central to Governor Florio’s legislative and gubernatorial career. In addition to presenting a public lecture at the school, the scholar meets and interacts with Bloustein School graduate and undergraduate students and faculty.


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