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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 10, 2004

UI To Host Conference On Health, Environment In Rural America

The need for a broader perspective of environmental health -- one that incorporates the natural, the built and the social environments -- and building nontraditional partnerships to address environmental health concerns will be the focus of a regional workshop at the University of Iowa.

The workshop, "Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment in Rural America," will explore a variety of health problems that may be associated with the environment, including waste, unhealthy buildings, suburban sprawl, air pollution, water pollution and environmentally related stress.

Sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Public Health, the UI Environmental Health Sciences Research Center and the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine, the workshop will be Nov. 29-30 at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus.

"Individuals and communities today face many health problems that can be associated with our environment, including toxic waste, unhealthy buildings, suburban sprawl, air pollution, water pollution, and environmentally related stress," according to James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the UI College of Public Health. "Iowa provides an opportunity to explore environmental health in a region representative of rural America."

In 1998, the Institute of Medicine created the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine as a venue for interested parties from the academic, industrial, consumer and federal research perspectives to meet and discuss sensitive and difficult issues of mutual interest in a neutral setting. The purpose is to foster discussion among people in different sectors and institutions that will illuminate issues, not resolve them. The roundtable sponsors regional workshops to understand the complex issues in various regions in the United States.

This event is free and open to the public; however, all participants are asked to pre-register. Registration forms and a preliminary agenda are available on the Roundtable Web site at or can be obtained by calling 202-334-3029.

NOTE TO EDITORS: This news release was adapted from a release issued by the Institute of Medicine.

STORY SOURCE: College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4261 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,; Writer: Dan McMillan