gions of the United States and get an in-depth understanding of local environmental issues and how they affect residents’ health. When speaking of environmental health, people often refer to air and water pollution. In reality, the total environment in which we live involves many other factors as well, which is why the Roundtable defines environmental health in a very broad way to include the social environment, the built environment, and of course the natural environment, noted Lovell Jones, director of the Center for Research on Minority Health at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
A goal of this workshop, then, is to bring together a variety of viewpoints including those of Houston area policy makers, planners, developers, and health care providers to discuss environmental health issues with each other and with various local communities. The meeting was put together following discussions with many stakeholders in the greater Houston metropolitan area, noted Jones. Community groups from the four quadrants of the city (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest), members of the academic community, industry, government officials, and environmental groups provided input to ensure broad representation on the agenda. Just the fact that this meeting was held at the Wild Cat Golf Course, showed that environmental health issues can be creatively addressed when stakeholders listen to each other and work together, noted Jones. This very site used to be one of the worst landfills in the city of Houston, but the majority of the community’s residents would agree it has come a long way. Jones concluded by suggesting that the discussion of the regional meeting will help inform the debate on environmental health issues.