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Exploring the Ecological Model of Health with Ted Schettler

The Science and Environmental Health Network is part of a strong network of scientists, activists, and coalitions. Dr. Ted Schettler serves as the Science Director for both SEHN and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. Hear Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director, and Michael Lerner, PhD, President of Commonweal, explore the implications of the ecological framework of health as it relates to several diseases that are common in our families and communities today.

Listen to the call here.

To see the slides and get more information, click here.

The origins of many common diseases and disorders are complex. Asthma, various kinds of cancer, cognitive decline and dementia, diabetes, and neurodevelopmental disorders are good examples. In populations, their incidence and patterns are attributable to a heterogeneous mix of multi-level gene-environment interactions. This is often true at the individual level as well. Variability in the manifestations of these disorders adds to the complexity. An ecologic or eco-social framework provides a model that can accommodate this complexity. It recognizes that individuals are progressively nested within families, communities, ecosystems, and societies. Rich interactions among variables at each of these levels establish conditions that strongly influence health and disease patterns. This framework is not only useful as an aid to understanding the origins of complex diseases but also helps point the way toward treatment and prevention.