News Story

Values Based Chair Begins Work on National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee

February 11, 2021 – Dr. Laura Anderko, who is the Robert and Kathleen Scanlon Chair in Values Based Health Care at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, has been invited to serve on a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee looking at per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Dr. Laura Anderko in a portrat-style photo with a lamp and bookshelves behind her
Dr. Laura Anderko

“The use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) – fluorinated organic compounds that appear in such materials as firefighting foams, cleaning products, and coatings to treat carpeting, packaging, and cookware – has led to widespread environmental contamination,” according to the National Academies website

The new committee, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is entitled, “Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes.”

‘Important Effort’

“National studies report that most people in the United States have been exposed to the group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” Anderko said, noting that exposure has “been associated with a reduced immune response and cancer.”  

Anderko, a nurse with a PhD in public health, has worked for two decades on children’s environmental health, including through a federal pediatric environmental health specialty unit. In 2013, during the Obama administration, she was named a White House Champion of Change for her work on climate change and health. 

“I am honored to participate in this important effort that will examine the research on health effects,” she said, adding that this work intends to develop guidance for clinicians in terms of educating patients on exposure reduction and evidence-based care. Also a professor of health systems administration at NHS, Anderko has written and presented about PFAS. Learn more about the NASEM committee.

By Bill Cessato