Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 11:40 AM
TEACHING GEOLOGY AND HUMAN HEALTH ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
The Earth Sciences contribute in many ways to human health issues: in water and air quality and quantity, natural and anthropogenic health hazards, as a controlling factor in the epidemiology of water- and air-borne diseases, and in the development of public health policy. The interdisciplinary field of "medical geology" is therefore of increasing importance in education and to society at large. Strong collaborations are needed to effectively prepare the next generation of practitioners of medical geology (NRC, 2007), scientists who are prepared to understand the complexities and interactions between components of the Earth system, natural and human-induced pathogens in the environment, and the physiologic responses of the human body. The On the Cutting Edge program for faculty professional development has developed online collections of resources to explore “Geology and Human Health” http://serc.carleton.edu/7194. This website contains collections of online resources from credentialed sources to support teaching and learning about topics such as airborne particles, biogenic hazards, gases, heavy metals, minerals, organic compounds, radionuclides, and waterborne pathogens and supporting topics such as epidemiology and risk analysis and public policy. In addition, classroom-ready teaching activities are available for use in a wide variety of classes. We encourage contributions from the community to identify, characterize and contribute web-based resources, teaching activities, review of these resources, and especially to develop new case studies of topics that can be taught in both Earth and medical science courses. Medical geology can be taught “across the curriculum” in introductory courses in the Earth and life sciences, as topics embedded into existing “core” courses in these disciplines (e.g. Mineralogy, Anatomy), and we envision that new interdisciplinary courses in medical geology will be developed and promoted. The health of medical geology as an emerging discipline will depend on its ability to recruit and train new cohorts of students to this exciting field. Readily available online resources will facilitate growing collaborations between the Earth and medical science communities.
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