Susan Pinney, PhD, a professor in the UC Department of Environmental Health and director of the UC Center for Environmental Genetics, authored a 2017 study that found that residents of the mid-Ohio River Valley (from Cincinnati north to Huntington, West Virginia) had higher than normal levels of certain chemicals in their blood based on samples collected over a 22-year span. The exposure source was likely from drinking water contaminated by the industrial discharges upriver, as detailed in “Dark Waters.”
Syed Ahmad, MD, co-director of the UC Cancer Center, professor and chief of the division of surgical oncology at UC and a UC Health surgeon, says this research is an example of population health science at UC that is making an impact.
“Population health sciences is about our city and region. It is about the people we take care of,” says Ahmad, the Hayden Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Research. “We are taking steps to specifically understand our demographics, our special populations, high incidence cancers, risk factors and disparities.
“I’m excited about our journey forward. Cancer prevention is and will remain one of the most important missions for our cancer center.”
"While we are making tremendous strides in developing novel treatment strategies for numerous cancers, our goal is to prevent these cancers from ever occurring," adds Thomas Herzog, MD, deputy director of the UC Cancer Center. "We know that well over 80% of cancers have either a direct or partial environmental component in terms of causation. Examining these associations to generate effective strategies to decrease the incidence of cancer in our regional population and beyond is a primary goal of this year’s UC Cancer Center retreat."
Featured photo of Syed Ahmad, MD, and William Barrett, MD, by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.