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Biological Diversity and Public Health

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Associate Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein speaks to the connection between biodiversity and health in his publication in volume 35 of the Annual Review of Public Health. In the wake of a species extinction event unprecedented in human history, how the variety, distribution, and abundance of life on earth may influence health has gained credence as a worthy subject for both research and study at schools of public health and for consideration among policymakers. This article reviews a few of the principal ways in which health depends on biodiversity, including the discovery of new medicines, biomedical research, the provision of food, and the distribution and spread of infections. It also examines how changes in biological diversity underlie much of the global burden of disease and how a more thorough understanding of life on earth and its interrelationships has the potential to greatly alleviate and prevent human suffering.

Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:153-67. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182348. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

Photo Credit: Flickr | Steve Garvie | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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