Alumna: Health hurt by climate change

By Shikha Duttyal

Outstanding Alumnus Award-winning Dr. Laura Anderko said climate change is hurting human health at a Friday lecture.

Anderko said the March Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed human populations are sensitive to climate change. During her presentation, Anderko covered the greenhouse effect and showed how it has changed human health. Anderko was a graduate student and faculty member at NIU for seven years, earning her master’s in nursing. She left NIU in 2001.

Anderko said humans are experiencing more respiratory problems due to climate change. Changing climate has also led to increase production of pollen, which has hurt those with allergies, and more cases of dengue fever, a virus spread by mosquitos.

Anderko said people can lessen production of greenhouse gases by switching off their electricity when not in use, among other things.

“It’s always nice to see alumni come back and inform the undergrads of current issues related to their major,” said lecture attendee Laura Kayler, senior public health major.

Kayler said the College of Health and Human Sciences often organizes events similar to Anderko’s.

“I thought the event was great. This topic is important to our students and they are very interested in this,” said Jim Ciesla, College of Health and Human Sciences associate dean.

Ciesla said preparations for the lecture took two months.

Anderko concluded the lecture by encouraging people to be concerned about the environment when it comes to their health.

“It was great. … It was well-attended with interested students and questions,” Anderko said.

Anderko holds the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Endowed Chair in Values Based Health Care at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. She has a doctorate in public health and bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.