Dr. James A. Merchant, professor of occupational and environmental health and founding dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, was recently honored for outstanding contributions to environmental health sciences by the University of Southern California.
[Photo: Dr. James Merchant, (right) with Dr. Thomas Smith, professor emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health]
Dr. Merchant, an expert on occupational and environmental health, rural health, and public health policy, was awarded the first annual John Peters Lectureship. This lectureship program continues the scientific legacy of Dr. John Peters, a groundbreaking epidemiologist and founding director of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center.
In his remarks, Dr. Merchant described research that began in Keokuk County, Iowa, where he and colleagues explored the respiratory impacts of agricultural and environmental exposures among rural residents with a focus on childhood asthma. He went on to describe asthma research in the urban environment of southern California, including the USC Children’s Health Study and the work of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, which continues to investigate the health effects of air pollution on Los Angeles youth.