New IUPUI Center for Urban Health focuses on half the world's population
A new center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has a tall order to fill -- improving the quality of life for billions of people.
The Center for Urban Health, hosted by the School of Science at IUPUI, will focus on the issues that affect individuals living in urban environments. The world's population is swelling, as are urban areas. Global population is projected to reach seven billion within the next year and nearly 50 percent will live in cities.
"Cities present unique challenges to the health of the individuals who reside in them," said Gabriel Filippelli, Ph.D., professor of earth sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI, the biogeochemist who is the founding director of the Center for Urban Health. "We need to know how to help more than three billion people live in a healthy way in places with high population density; a legacy of environmental burdens; current atmospheric and soil contamination; limited amounts of green space, and many other particularly urban issues,"
Filippelli previously served as chairman of the Department of Earth Sciences in the School of Science. He is a national leader in the emerging field of medical geology and served as the first elected chair of the Geological Society of America's Geology and Health Division.
Among the initial areas of focus of IUPUI's Center for Urban Health are chronic poisoning from lead in soil; sexually transmitted diseases in inner city teenagers; the affect of urban "heat islands" on older adults, and the relationship of childhood obesity to green space availability and proximity.
The urban health focus and breadth of research of the new IUPUI center is unusual, according to Filippelli. Environmental health centers, which are found at many universities, typically look at specific issues like autism or sexually transmitted diseases, but not on how these or other health conditions are affected by built environments found in New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Detroit, Moscow, Indianapolis, Mumbai or other urban areas around the globe.
The Center for Urban Health is a consortium of the IUPUI schools of science and liberal arts, the IU School of Medicine and its Department of Public Health.