Geography and Health

In this session, we will consider how the environment influences the health of individuals and populations, and how the local geography of the place we live and the places we and others travel to can impact our well-being. The relationship between geography and health was recognized as far back as the time of Hippocrates, who stated that “airs, waters, and places” all had a significant impact on human health. In Week 1, we learned about the cholera outbreak in London in 1854, and how John Snow’s study of the homes of people who had died and where they got their water led to a ground-breaking understanding of how public health interventions can interrupt an epidemic.

Environmental health concerns often are areas where public health and policy are important tools, and progress in protecting health requires the concerted efforts of a large number of concerned stakeholders.

To gain an understanding of how the environment impacts health, please complete the following before class:

Activity 1:

As you view the report, CONSIDER…

  • What was the cause of the problem and why did it take so long to acknowledge there was a problem?
  • What role did physicians play in helping to identify and address the problem?
  • Who came together to make sure that the problem was recognized, investigated, and acted upon

Activity 2:

Activity 3:

  • After completing your pre-class assignment and considering the questions above, take our survey to identify the concerns of your class regarding geography and health, at the link below.
  • When you respond, try to use one-word answers if possible, as this will help us identify the concerns that appear most commonly.