Campus & Community

Two SPH researchers receive awards

2 min read

John Spengler, the Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation in the Department of Environmental Health at the School of Public Health (SPH), was honored in London recently by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health for his long career of improving urban health and indoor air quality.

Spengler, who directs the Environmental Science and Engineering Program, received the J.W. Starkey Silver Medal, given each year to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to promoting better health. He is currently working with Boston officials to make housing healthier and safer for residents and their children. In particular, he is investigating why children in U.S. public housing suffer asthma rates up to five times the national average.

Last May, Spengler and a colleague sparked debate among public health groups and legislators when they released a landmark report describing the exposure of 32 million people to air pollution from two Massachusetts coal-fired power plants. The report triggered calls by some state officials for more stringent laws governing air emissions.

Spengler has engaged in similar studies of environmentally beleaguered cities in Russia and is currently analyzing data from a health study of 6,000 Russian children in nine cities to measure impacts of outdoor air pollution and housing conditions on health.

Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and management in the Department of Health Policy and Management, was awarded the Association of Health Services Distinguished Investigator Award for Lifetime Achievement at a ceremony in Los Angeles on June 26.

The award is given by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy. Previous winners include Joseph Newhouse, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Department of Health Policy and Management at SPH, who gave Blendon the award this year.

Blendon co-directs the Harvard Opinion Research Program and the Henry J. Kaiser National Program on the Public, Health, and Social Policy through which he studies Americans’ knowledge and attitudes about domestic public policy issues.