Ruth A. Etzel, MD, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology
Zilber Building 445
PhD (Epidemiology), University of North Carolina School of Public Health
MD, University of Wisconsin
BA (Biology), University of Minnesota
Children's Environmental Health
Global Environmental Health
Indoor Air Pollution
Tobacco Prevention and Control
Dr. Etzel has a broad background in public health, with specific training and expertise in pediatrics, preventive medicine, and children's environmental health. After completing a residency in pediatrics, Dr. Etzel was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During 20 years as a Commissioned Officer in the US Public Health Service, Dr. Etzel served in a variety of public-sector leadership positions including: US CDC (Founding Chief of the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch), US Department of Agriculture (Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Risk Assessment) and US Indian Health Service (Research Director at the Alaska Native Medical Center).
Dr. Etzel is the founding editor of Pediatric Environmental Health (a 3rd edition was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011). This influential book has helped to train thousands of doctors who care for children about how to recognize, diagnose, treat and prevent illness in children from hazards in the environment. She has worked extensively with international organizations to educate health professionals about environmental health and to build their capacity to conduct environmental investigations. From 2009 to 2012 she served as the Senior Officer for Environmental Health Research in the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Etzel has carried out many emergency epidemiologic investigations of critical environmental health problems in the United States as well as Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Kuwait, Mexico, Sierra Leone, and Uzbekistan. Her current epidemiologic research focuses on assessing the health effects of exposures to indoor and outdoor air pollutants on the respiratory health of infants and children.
Dr. Etzel has received numerous awards, including the 2007 Children's Environmental Health Champion Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Distinguished Service Award from the US Public Health Service, the Don C. Mackel Memorial Award from CDC, the Arthur S. Flemming Award, and the Clinical Society Award from the US Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Association for discovering the association between infant pulmonary hemorrhage and exposure to toxigenic molds. In 2010 Dr. Etzel was elected a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, an international academy of 180 internationally renowned experts in the fields of occupational and environmental health.
Early-life prevention of non-communicable diseases.
Balbus JM, Barouki R, Birnbaum LS, Etzel RA, Gluckman PG, Grandjean P, Hancock C, Hanson MA, Heindel JJ, Hoffman K, Jensen GJ, Keeling A, Neira M, Rabadán-Diehl C, Ralston J, Tang K-C. Early-life prevention of non-communicable diseases. Lancet, 2013; 381 (9860): 3 – 4.
Primary care pediatrics and public health: Meeting the needs of today's children.
Kuo AA, Etzel RA, Chilton LA, Watson C, Gorski PA. Primary care pediatrics and public health: Meeting the needs of today's children. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(12):e17-e23.
Impact of ambient temperature on children’s health: A systematic review
Xu Z, Etzel RA, Su H, Huang C, Guo Y, Tong S. Impact of ambient temperature on children’s health: A systematic review. Environmental Research 2012;117:120-31.
Environmental Hazards.In: Textbook of Global Child Health
Etzel RA.Chapter 7:Environmental Hazards.In: Textbook of Global Child Health.Kamat DM and Fischer PR (Eds.) Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012, pages 153-169.
Household air pollution: A cause of lung disease in children
Etzel RA.Household air pollution: a cause of lung disease in children. In: Living conditions: The influence on young children’s health. Early Childhood Matters no. 118, The Hague, Netherlands: Bernard van Leer Foundation, Belgium, July 2012.
And how are the children?
Etzel RA.And how are the children?Academic Pediatrics 2012;12:161-162.
Environmental Pediatrics. In: Rudolph’s Pediatrics, 22nd Edition
Etzel RA. Chapter 17: Environmental Pediatrics. In: Rudolph’s Pediatrics, 22nd Ed.Rudolph CD, Rudolph AM, First LR, Gershon AA (Eds.)McGraw-Hill, 2011.
Statement of Principles: Academic Pediatric Association-Industry Relationship
Laraque D, Etzel R and Academic Pediatric Association Public Policy and Advocacy Committee.Statement of Principles: APA-Industry Relationship. Academic Pediatrics 2011;11:355-356.
Pediatric Environmental Health—3rd Edition
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. Pediatric Environmental Health—3rd Edition. Etzel RA, editor. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011.
Self-reported asthma among American Indian and Alaska Native people in Alaska
Orell LJ, Ferucci ED, Lanier AP, Etzel RA.Self-reported asthma among American Indian and Alaska Native people in Alaska.Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 2011; 22(4): 1264-78.
National Toxicology Program-Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction expert panel report on the developmental toxicity of soy infant formula
McCarver G, Bhatia J, Chambers C, Clarke R, Etzel R, Foster W, Hoyer P, Leeder JS, Peters JM, Rissman E, Rybak M, Sherman C, Toppari J, Turner K. NTP-CERHR expert panel report on the developmental toxicity of soy infant formula. Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology 2011;92(5):421-68.
Children’s environmental health – from knowledge to action
Gavida T, Brune M, McCarty KM, Pronczuk J, Etzel R, Neira M, Carpenter DO, Suk WA, Arnold RG, Ha EH, Sly PD.Children’s environmental health – from knowledge to action. Lancet 2011;377(9772):1134-6.
Developmental milestones in children's environmental health
Etzel RA. Developmental milestones in children's environmental health. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010;118(10):A420-1.
Strategies for successful retention of Alaska Native and American Indian study participants
Redwood D, Leston J, Asay E, Ferucci E, Etzel R, Lanier AP. Strategies for successful retention of Alaska Native and American Indian study participants. Journal of Primary Prevention 2010;32(1):43-52.
Associations among body mass index, waist circumference, and health indicators in American Indian and Alaska Native adults
Slattery ML, Ferucci ED, Murtaugh MA, Edwards S, Ma KN, Etzel RA, Tom-Orme L, Lanier AP. Associations among body mass index, waist circumference, and health indicators in American Indian and Alaska Native adults. American Journal of Health Promotion 2010;24(4):246-54.
Visual impairment and eye care among Alaska Native people
Haymes SA, Leston JD, Ferucci ED, Etzel RA, Lanier AP. Visual impairment and eye care among Alaska Native people. Ophthalmic Epidemiology 2009;16:163-174.
Family health history and health behaviors in Alaska Native and American Indian people
Slattery ML, Murtaugh MA, Lanier AP, Ma KN, Ferucci ED, Etzel RA, Edwards S. Family health history and health behaviors in Alaska Native and American Indian people. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved2009;20(3):678-94.
Pilot study of methods to measure saliva cotinine in Alaska Native women during pregnancy Helzer LJ, Heitkamp KM, Shein M, Etzel RA.Pilot study of methods to measure saliva cotinine in Alaska Native women during pregnancy.International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2007 (Suppl 1); 66:29-38.
Indoor and outdoor air pollution: Tobacco smoke, moulds and diseases in infants and children Etzel RA.Indoor and outdoor air pollution: Tobacco smoke, moulds and diseases in infants and children.International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2007; 210:611-616.
Interregional Research Unit / Public Health and Environment
5 U01 ES002617-28(Neira, PI)
NIH/NIEHS 04/01/10 – 03/31/11
This collaborative work addressed impacts of emerging and re-emerging environmental contaminants on human health, particularly in vulnerable population groups, and translation of complex environmental health information into accessible documents tailored to international audiences.
Native American Research Center for Health
U26IHS300131/01 (Etzel, PI)
National Human Genome Research Institute/Indian Health Service, 09/30/06 – 09/29/09
The aim of this Center was to undertake community-based participatory research on the ethical and cultural implications of specimen banking for Alaska Native people.
Pediatric Environmental Health Leadership Institute: Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 09/01/05 – 08/31/07
The aim of this project was to develop and offer a curriculum to train pediatricians in children's environmental health and improve their capacities for leadership in the recognition, diagnosis, prevention and management of pediatric diseases linked to environmental factors.