28-30 Apr 1999, Φ IEEI, San Francisco: Conference “The Environmental Health Effects of Civil Unrest”

28.-30.4.1999, Φ International Environmental Epidemiology Institute (IEEI), San Francisco, Ca.: Conference “The Environmental Health Effects of Civil Unrest”

Dr. Warren Winkelstein, Jr., then professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), was intrigued by the idea “to establish an international research center to further understanding of the links between environmental degradation and human health”.

In the early 1990s, the historic Presidio army post near San Francisco’s Golde Gate was transferred to the National Park Service. In the context of this conversion, Winkelstein proposed the establishment of an Institute of Environmental Epidemiology (later called the International Environmental Epidemiology Institute, IEEI), to be located in the Letterman Medical complex.

To further develop the idea and to explore funding opportunities, an international conference was to be held in San Francisco. A conference proposal was developed by Carlos Santos-Burgoa (Cuernivaca & Mexico City), Rainer Fehr (Bielefeld), and Warren Winkelstein (Berkeley) in 1996. A selective bibliography of 20 titles with annotations was produced:

On 28-30 April 1999, the conference “Environmental Health Consequences of Civil Unrest” was held at the Fort Mason Center, near the Presidio [98-20]. On day one, the venue was the Golden Gate room of the Conference Center (building A), on days 2 and 3 The Firehouse. By this time, the IEEI as the organizing institution had reached the status of a subsidiary project of The Tides Center (www.tides.org) of San Francisco. The conference was funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace (www.usip.org) of Washington, D.C., with additional support from the Archstone Foundation (https://archstone.org/) of Long Beach, CA, and the Jenifer Altman Foundation (www.jaf.org/).

The conference program included:

  • a keynote address, delivered by Sir Donald Acheson (London)
  • case presentations from Chiapas (Mexico) and Sarajevo (Bosnia)
  • panel sessions on (i) health surveillance and research, (ii) role of governmental agencies and NGOs, and (iii) media and public affairs
  • a presentation on the PAHO perspective on violence in urban environments
  • workshops on (i) health surveillance and research, (ii) role of governmental agencies and NGOs, and (iii) media and public affairs
  • a plenary session with workshop reports as well as policy recommendations and resolutions.

My personal conference report is available here:

In order to document key elements of the presentations and discussions, Christina Merkley and co-workers (of Grove Consultants International. San Francisco, Ca.) produced 16 “murals”. As ist says on the cover page, this graphic summary was” intended as a memory device for those present and as a communication tool to share the proceedings with those unable to attend”.

Own contributions:

  • Introduction to: Case Presentation – Sarajevo, Bosnia [99-07]
  • Introduction to: Panel – Health Surveillance and Research / Environmental Evaluation [99-11]
  • Introduction to: Workshop – Health Surveillance and Research / Environmental Evaluation [99-12]