Georgetown Professor Reacts to WHO Reports About Impact of Environment on Child Health

Article ID: 670614

Released: 6-Mar-2017 8:55 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Georgetown University Medical Center

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  • Credit: Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies

    Laura Anderko, PhD, RN

WASHINGTON (March 6, 2016) -- Two reports published March 5 (EST) by the World Health Organization reveal that more than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years are attributable to unhealthy environments. That amounts to 1.7 million child deaths a year.

The reports (“Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment” and “Don’t pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children’s health”) are alarming to Georgetown University’s Laura Anderko, PhD, RN, director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, a regional CDC Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, which covers the District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. 

Anderko says many might think these reports reflect problems in developing countries, but that the United States is grappling with its own environmental challenges. “The new reports from the WHO underscore the important contribution of pollution to our children's health both abroad and here in the United States,” says Anderko, the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Chair in Values Based Health Care at Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies. “The US is experiencing an increase in the number of children suffering from asthma each year, which is exacerbated by extreme heat days that results in increased air pollution. Today, over 6 million US children suffer from asthma.”

Anderko adds, “It is essential to support efforts to reduce air pollution and reduce asthma in our children. In the U.S., we are fortunate to have the Office of Children's Health Protection at the EPA working to improve the health of our children through research, education, and regulation.” 

To interview Anderko about the impact of the environment on children’s health, please contact Karen Teber at

About Georgetown University Medical CenterGeorgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. Connect with GUMC on Facebook (, Twitter (@gumedcenter) and Instagram (@gumedcenter).


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