2019 ISCHE Retreat

ISCHE will hold its 4th international retreat on Purposeful Research: From Study Design to Prevention at the Hacienda Misné in Merida, Yucatan Mexico. It will run from dinner on January 8th through lunch on 11th, 2019 (with optional events the afternoon of the 11th). Our return to Mexico will deepen our connections with friends and colleagues in Mexico and the region.
 
The retreat will draw together a broad community of researchers, clinicians, regulatory and advocacy professionals, as well as students interested in children’s environmental health from around the globe. Building on the success of our previous meetings, this retreat will be a relaxed, intimate meeting to inspire our work and create new friendships and collaborations. This works best if the number of participants is limited, so plan to register early before the spaces are filled.
Proposed sessions will focus on diverse themes, including nurturing young investigators, emerging issues (e.g., water contaminants, fluorinated chemicals), maximizing the impact of our work, and environmental issues of concern in Mexico and around the world.
 
 
Everyone who attended the last meeting in Cuernavaca was extremely enthusiastic about returning to Mexico. Our local partners from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) have identified this wonderful 18th century hacienda for us. Merida is famous for its unique food, colorful colonial architecture, museums, nearby archeological sites (such as the pyramids at Chichen Itza), and cenotes (crystal clear swimming holes created by an asteroid 66 million years ago). Historically, there are many French influences including Paseo Montejo, a wide tree-lined avenue inspired by the Champs-Élysées and dotted with palatial Beaux Arts homes.
 
 
AGENDA
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Tuesday, January 8th

 

4:00 – 7: 00 p.m. - Registration

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Dinner

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.- Brief introductions, welcome, and icebreaker activity

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Wednesday, January 9th
 

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. – The Evolving Controversy: Is Fluoride Neurotoxic?

Over the past century, water fluoridation was established to prevent tooth decay. Beginning in the 1970s, fluoride was added to toothpaste. Since the, the prevalence of fluorosis rose and the amount of fluoride added to water was subsequently reduced to prevent fluorosis. More recently, studies have raised questions about the neurotoxicity of fluoride. The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the benefits and potential neurotoxicity of fluoride, especially for the developing brain, followed by a discussion about whether ISCHE should craft a policy statement about the use of fluoride.

Speakers:

  • Christine Till– Overview of water fluoridation and results from ELEMENT study
  • Rivka Green– Association between fluoride and IQ in the MIREC study
  • Angeles Martínez Mier– Dental Benefitsof Fluoride

 

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Break

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Expanding Exposures to PFAS in Water

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of chemicals that have been manufactured and unregulated since the 1940s when products such as Teflon brought convenience to society. These chemicals are not easily broken down and are present in all living organisms that have been tested. Humans are exposed daily since PFAS are found in food packaging, stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon) etc., as well as in their drinking water. It is estimated that at least 110 million people’s drinking water in the US alone is contaminated with these chemicals. In this session we will review the state of the science with a focus on the epidemiology, children’s health, the state of regulations and how they and other chemical groups with common characteristics could be regulated in the future. A discussion of ISCHE’s next steps regarding PFAS and how we can promote more efficient and effective frameworks for the regulation of harmful chemicals and pollutants that adversely affect human health.

Speakers:

  • Tom Webster– Overview and discussion on epidemiological research
  • Joe Braun– Health effects of early-life PFAS exposure
  • Wendy Heiger-Bernays– State of regulation/guidelines in drinking water

 

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Emerging Threats to Children’s Environmental Health  

Under Development

Speakers:

  • Merete Eggesbo – Infants under double attack: The interplay between gut microbiome and toxicants

 

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.– State of Children’s Environmental Health in Latin America

Under Development

Speakers:

  • José Ricardo Suarez– Pesticides, Children’s Neurobehavior, and Agroecology in Ecuador  
  • Lizbeth Lopez-Carillo- systematic review on state of children’s environmental health research in Latin America
  • Mara Tellez Rojo

 

3:15 – 5:00 p.m. – Working session and networking

5:00 – 6:00 – Happy Hour/Relax/Interact

6:00 – 7:00 – Dinner

7:00 – 8:00 – Social Event (Storytelling)

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Thursday, January 10th

7:30 - 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Young Investigators Session

Under Development

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Break

10:30  a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Scientist-activism and Careers

Scientists are often wary or uncomfortable translating their science for purposes of action, whether it be written or spoken support of changes to existing policy or engagement with communities or advocacy organizations. Recent criticism of the “activist” scientist requires that we identify when, where, an dhow we as environmental health professionals can be most impactful while retaining our reputations as excellent scientists. In this session we will explore the challenges of embracing translation, while recognizing the relationship between career stage and trajectory. The overall objective of this session to formally identify effective practices for scientists with the goal of preventing or controlling disease in children.

Speakers:

  • Mark Miller
  • Rachel Schaeffer
  • Discussion: Where is the Line Between Science and Advocacy in Protecting Children’s Environmental Health?

 

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.  –Incorporating Interdisciplinary Research in Children’s Environmental Health: New Perspectives from Uncommon Disciplines

The more we learn about how environmental stressors affect children's health, the more we recognize that social, political and geopolitical factors are critical to understanding the disease pathways. Anthropologists have always studied these factors and yet it is only fairly recently that their work has been recognized as imperative to understanding individuals interaction with the environment, thus exposures and rates of poor outcomes to environmental stressors, and eventually propose a better design of interventions. In this session, colleagues who work at the intersection of anthropology and traditional environmental health methods will share their expertise in an effort to engage ISCHE in this critical interdisciplinary science.

Introduction: Mara Tellez-Rojo

Speakers:

  • Elizabeth Roberts
  • Maryann Cairns
  • Katarzyna Kordas

 

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Working session and networking

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. – ISCHE Policy Statements and Campaigns

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Dinner in town

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Friday, January 11th

 

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. - Herb Needleman Award Presentation

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Policy Statement Update and Discussion

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Where We’ve Come over the Last Two Years and Envisioning the Next Two Years

  • Mark Miller
  • Bruce Lanphear

 

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch

Afternoon Field Trip – swimming in cenotes or visit Great Museum of Mayan World 

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Saturday, January 12th

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.  - Breakfast

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