Allison Hall, 7 p.m.
Respiratory Health Disparities: Asthma as a Case Study
Juan Carlos Celedón, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Respiratory health disparities are significant differences in respiratory health that are closely linked to racial ancestry, social, economic, and/or environmental differences. In the United States, racial/ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of respiratory diseases such as asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, occupational lung diseases, COVID-19, and tuberculosis. Disparities in respiratory health are largely explained by unequal exposure to environmental risk factors such as tobacco use, air pollution, occupational hazards, and infectious agents. Such environmental injustice is ultimately due to structural and social determinants of health that must be addressed to achieve health equity. This lecture will first provide an overview of known and potential risk factors for asthma, focusing on psychosocial stressors such as exposure to violence and violence-related distress and their impact on biology through epigenetics and regulation of gene expression. This will be followed by a review of the need for a multipronged approach to eliminate respiratory health disparities and achieve health equity.
This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Biology and the Health Studies Program.