Sunday, March 20, 2011

Presentation on public health, resilience and peak oil at Columbia U. in April

Last winter I contacted Dan Bednarz, PhD, who writes nationally about how public health systems can become more resilient in preparation for peak oil, climate change and economic, ah, constraints. I offered to set up a presentation by him at a NYC university, which could then be promoted to local public health and medical administrators.

He eagerly agreed.  Many emails later, a student group at Columbia University's Mailman Graduate School of Public Health accepted our offer. We have a presentation scheduled for Wednesday, April 6!  This is a great opportunity to deliver a highly targeted wake up call to many of NYC's health administrators.

Can you help me spread word of this presentation to NYC healthcare and medical administrators?

This presentation will be specifically targeted to students and faculty at the Mailman School – and most importantly, NYC health administrators and professionals. We're trying to alert the leaders of our healthcare systems, so they get a better idea of how to plan for NYC's future healthcare needs. Can you help spread this important wake-up call?

Do you know any doctors, nurses, or staff at hospitals, clinics, or social services organizations? Please email the following invitation to them.
Can you go online, look up the executives at your local hospital or clinic, and email it to them? Extra credit for sending it to your contacts at NYC Department of Health!

Please let me know who you sent it to at  


How Resilient Is Health Care?
Ecological, Fiscal and Economic Challenges.

A free talk for public health and medical professionals on making NYC healthcare institutions sustainable, by Dan Bednarz, PhD

Wednesday, April 6th, 7 – 8:30 PM

Members of the Columbia University community, and NYC public health and medical professionals, are invited. Dr. Bednarz will discuss how public health systems can be made more resilient in a time of declining government funding, climate change, and depleting resources such as oil and water.

Hess Commons Room, Allan Rosenfield Building
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
722 W. 168 Street, New York, NY 10032 [map]

Sponsor: Future Healthcare Leaders, Mailman Graduate School of Public Health, Columbia University

Humanity is in a sustainability crisis that has ecological, financial, economic and political dimensions. In light of this public health’s prospective role is multifaceted:

1) Following Thomas Frieden’s health impact pyramid, it is imperative to protect the social – or non-medical - determinants of health.

2) Due to declining governmental taxes and revenues, public health must accomplish the above by designing resilient infrastructure. This resilience imperative applies even more so to medicine, as it consumes vast amounts of natural and fiscal resources.

3) Public health can play a leadership role in articulating how ecological realities (the peak of worldwide oil production, climate change, fresh water scarcities, population growth, overfishing and finite resource consumption, etc.) threaten population level health as well as economic, financial, scientific, educational, and political institutions. This is directly relevant to PLANYC and, at the macro-level to aligning social institutions to adapt to what E.O. Wilson calls the bottleneck of environmental challenges.

4) From the macro-perspective the public policy question facing the nation is “How to create socially just public policy with a shrinking economic pie?” (This assumes that the policy process in the USA is either broken or captured by elites but still can be reclaimed by citizens.)

Dan Bednarz, PhD spent three years as the Associate Director of the Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Pittsburgh and has lectured at the university level in business strategy, organizational studies, sociology, and policy analysis. He runs a consulting firm, Sustainable Health Systems, and co-edits a website, Health after Oil, exploring why public health and healthcare must design health systems that are fiscally, economically and environmentally sustainable.

He is the co-author of a paper on hospital preparedness in an upcoming American Journal of Public Health special issue on peak oil.

“Medicine after Oil”, Dan Bednarz, Orion Magazine, July/August 2007.

“Sustainable medicine: an issue brief on medical school reform,” Dan Bednarz, Energy Bulletin, May 2010


  1. Hello,
    This post provide knowledge about public health resilience and peak oils etc in their presentation.This is a desirable news for us..........such a usable post.
    Thanks for your information.........
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  2. This is great as public heath is main concern today and awareness is necessary to achieve this public health target.