5 Great Groups Using Science To Improve Public Health

Public health is extraordinarily complex, especially in a globalized society. The rapid development to exploit the earth's resources creates new hazards all the time. Fortunately, there are many science-driven groups that are dedicated to studying and producing information to address our changing epidemiological landscape. This list, in no particular order, highlights several of them.

The #1 entry is the Green Science Policy Institute. Its mission is to facilitate safer use of chemicals to protect human and ecological health. It aims to educate and build partnerships among government, business, academia, and public interest groups to develop innovative solutions for reducing harmful ingredients in products.

The institute was founded in 2008 in Berkeley, California, by Arlene Blum after she learned that the same chlorinated tris flame retardant that her research had helped remove from children’s pajamas in the 1970s was back in furniture and baby products.

Next up, at #2, we have Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, a doctor-led group of health professionals and community members working to address how nuclear war and climate change affect human health.

Its members include a wide range of medical experts, with specializations in public health, epidemiology, occupational medicine, disaster preparedness, and more. GBPSR releases researched reports that detail the health impacts of nuclear weapons, fossil fuels, and more; it then broadly shares these documents with the public and policymakers.

For #3, we present the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science, a scientific community dedicated to advancing public health in the service of improved well-being and medical equity. It hosts an annual conference to connect researchers across disciplines, providing a shared space that allows scholars and practitioners to network and mutually support and enhance their shared interests.

The association also promotes the communication and application of population health science by fostering exchange between scientists, public health professionals, and policymakers. Its conferences, workshops, webinars, blog, and social media aim to bridge gaps between science and its application in practice.

Coming in at #4 is the Silent Spring Institute, a scientific research organization dedicated to uncovering the links between chemicals in the environment and women’s health, with a focus on breast cancer prevention. It is based in Newton, Massachusetts.

Since its founding, the institute has published over 100 scientific papers in journals and its science has informed policies around the country. One of its initiatives, the ELLA study, investigates whether exposure to common environmental chemicals during puberty increases a young girl’s chances of developing breast cancer later in life.

Finally, at #5, we have the Frontier Group, a think tank that works to provide information and ideas to build a healthier, more sustainable America. Its experts and writers share their research and analysis with the public and aim to identify new solutions for pressing problems.

Some of the group's research topics include climate change, transportation, energy, and conservation. Its 2020 report "Safe for Swimming?" looks at the pollution level at beaches in every coastal and Great Lakes state. Frontier's team reviewed 200,000 water quality samples to come to its conclusions.