What is Environmental Medicine
1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:
From Wikipedia: (See also Environmental Health)
Environmental Medicine is a multidisciplinary field involving medicine, environmental science, chemistry and others, overlapping with environmental pathology. It may be viewed as the medical branch of the broader field of environmental health.
The scope of this field involves studying the interactions between environment and human health, and the role of the environment in causing or mediating disease. As a specialist field of study it is looked upon with mixed feelings by physicians and politicians alike, for the basic assumption is that health is more widely and dramatically affected by environmental toxins than previously recognized.
2. What is the focus of this Topic?:
University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine defines Environmental Medicine as a “multidisciplinary field involving the study and treatment of diseases caused or exacerbated by environmental exposures to naturally occurring or man-made toxicants.”
From Wikipedia: Environmental medicine is concerned primarily with prevention. Much of epidemiology, which studies patterns of disease and injury, is not within the scope of environmental medicine, but e.g. air pollution epidemiology is a highly active branch of environmental health and environmental medicine. Any disease with a large genetic component usually falls outside the scope of environmental medicine, but in diseases like asthma or allergies both environmental and genetic approaches are needed.
3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?
While the above definitions and focal points of Environmental Medicine can be seen as granular, the overview of this field is stated as, “studying the interactions between environment and human health, and the role of the environment in causing or mediating disease”. This makes it an obvious connection between the main topics of Architectural Medicine, which is health and the built environment.
As Architectural Medicine is concerned with all of the facets of health – mentally, physically and emotionally – there is a strong emphasis on the connections with the medical field, and as such recognizes the importance of this work and research being done by these professionals.
4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:
Environmental Medicine has become a more common topic with environmental concerns in medicine relative to an occupant’s environment. With the developments of Environmental Health, there have been growing concerns with groups focused on health and the environment, such as the the World Health Organization.
As of 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) website on environmental health states “Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments.”