2011 Annual Report
Chicago PSR has spent the past year advocating for a healthier Chicago. We’d like to share our accomplishments with you as we gear up for 2012.
Chicago PSR is dedicated to helping doctors, nurses and managers make their outpatient practices more environmentally friendly. To make green practice changes even easier to accomplish, we created a how-to video: "Dr. Green: The Environmentally-Conscious Medical Practice." Click here to watch our video, and pass it along to your colleagues and friends.
Standing Up to Big Coal
Chicago PSR is proud to participate in the fight for cleaner air in Chicago. We have worked all year long as a collaborative partner in the Chicago Clean Power Coalition to help pass the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would help close Chicago’s two dirty, unhealthy and outdated coal-fired power plants. Representing the public health voice, here are activities in which we have participated throughout the year:
- In February, board member Dr. Peter Orris and director Dr. Sarah Lovinger testified before the Chicago City Council on the local public health and global climate change and public health effects of these plants
- In March, we invited Brian Urbaszewski of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago to give a talk on the health effects of the coal-fired power plants to students at the UIC College of Medicine
- In June, Dr. Lovinger participated in a radio interview on coal plants and public health in Illinois
- In November, we honored Coalition activists at our annual dinner
- In December, Dr. Lovinger was filmed for a Greenpeace documentary about the coal fight
Educating the Medical Community About Climate Change and Public Health
Chicago PSR knows that climate change represents one of the greatest threats to worldwide public health. Informing physicians and other health care professionals about climate change is one of our top priorities. This November, we collaborated with the Harvard School of Public Health, the American Medical Association, and the Illinois State Medical Society to organize a CME conference on climate change and health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The well-attended meeting, featuring Professor Yarrow Axford of Northwestern and Dr. Aaron Bernstein of Harvard Medical School, engaged the audience of doctors from all over Chicago .
Speaking Out in Support of EPA Rules Benefitting Public Health
Chicago PSR supports EPA Clean Air Act efforts to tighten pollution rules. This past year we engaged in these activities:
- In May, Dr. Orris and Dr. Lovinger testified at the EPA hearing on the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule
- In August, board member Dr. Susan Buchanan participated in a press conference with US EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman and other local environmental non-profits to push for tougher pollution standards
Responding to the Fukushima Accident
Chicago PSR worked with the Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) to inform our members and the public about the potential public health effects of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident following the tsunami in Japan. In March, 2011, we organized a forum on nuclear accidents, radiation, and public health at De Paul University. Featured speakers included national PSR board member Dr. Jeff Patterson and Dave Kraft of the NEIS.
Engaging Medical Students
Chicago PSR has two active student chapters, one at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and one at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Throughout the year, student leaders work with Chicago PSR to plan lunchtime lectures on public health topics. Lecturers this year have included:
- Brian Urbaszewski of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago who talked about the health effects of the coal-fired power plants
- Dr. Susan Buchanan of the University of Illinois School of Public Health who talked about environmental health
- Ann Alexander of the NRDC who talked about the public health benefits of cleaning the Chicago River
- John Seager, President of Population Connection, who talked about population issues and climate change
In addition to helping student groups plan lectures, we also initiated our first annual Soul of Medicine dinner. Together with Physicians for a National Health Plan, Chicago PSR is committed to inviting medical students to an annual dinner to honor a local progressive physician. This year, we were pleased to honor Dr. Lee Francis, President and CEO of Erie Family Health Center, and Chicago PSR Board President.