NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series – September 2012

The National Institutes of Health welcomes Dr. Georges C. Benjamin as the speaker for the NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series on September 20, 2012.

The built environment—defined as the human-made features of our communities such as buildings, public resources (libraries, clinics, and schools), land-use patterns and the transportation system—has a direct impact on human health. American transportation policy has a long history of focusing more on moving many cars quickly through and between sprawling communities than on the overall health of the people who live in those communities. This has led to the fact that many neighborhoods today are distant from basic services such as health care, schools, recreation facilities, and grocery stores. Modern American residential communities are far from working centers, are often inaccessible to public transit, and tend to be unfavorable to walking and biking. These aspects of our built-environment have negative health outcomes contributing to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma and leading to morbidity and mortality from traffic accidents. In addition, increased levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from traffic leads to climate change, and living near roadways leads to increased risk of cancer, respiratory illness, and heart disease.

The health risks associated with a transportation system that does not focus on public health are enormous and costly, but they are not distributed equitably across the population. Nearly one third of the US population is transportation disadvantaged. Transportation and housing are the two biggest costs for most families and transportation cost makes up a much larger proportion of the budgets of the poorest US families. Dr. Benjamin will discuss emerging research on the links between transportation and health and the implications for America’s most vulnerable populations. He will address health disparities, safety, air quality, physical activity and access to services in relation to transportation policy. (Click here for abstract)

Dr. Benjamin is well-known in the world of public health as a leader, practitioner and administrator. He has been the executive director of the American Public Health Association, the nation's oldest and largest organization of public health professionals, since December 2002. He came to that post from his position as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Benjamin became secretary of health in Maryland in April 1999, following four years as its deputy secretary for public health services. As secretary, Benjamin oversaw the expansion and improvement in the state’s Medicaid program.

Benjamin is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois’ College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He is also a Fellow Emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Presentation Title:

Transportation Equity: A Public Health Approach

Guest Speaker:

Georges Benjamin (Click here for bio)

Executive Director of the American Public Health Association


Thursday, September 20, 2012

2:00 - 3:30 P.M.

Seminar Video Recording:

Click here to view September's video recorded seminar.


NIH Campus

Masur Auditorium, Building 10

10 Center Drive

Bethesda, MD

Additional Information:

There is limited parking on the NIH campus. The closest Metro is Medical Center. Please allow adequate time for security check. The seminar will be video cast and made available in the NIH Video archives and on the NIMHD website after the seminar. Sign language interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations to participate should contact Edgar Dews at 301-402-1366 or the Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339.