Date: Friday, 25 November 2016, 01:30 am
Location: at the Berlin Representative Office, Robert Bosch Stiftung Französische Straße 32, 10117 Berlin
  • Dr. Roberto Bertollini, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy; former WHO Chief Scientists and Representative to the EU


The relationship between environmental exposures and health is complex and multifaceted. Recent estimates attribute a proportion between 15 and 25% of the global burden of disease to environmental hazards. However, new findings show that this impact may even be greater since environmental factors can interact with other causes of several frequent diseases such as obesity, mental disorders, diabetes or cancer.

In this context, policy makers need to make choices to protect population health taking into account both the robustness of science, the unavoidable uncertainties surrounding scientific results and the perception of the risks among citizens. The latter is not always oriented by evidence, but rather influenced by a variety of factors, including the role of the media, both traditional and social media, in forming judgements and opinions.

How can policy makers face these challenges? How do science and politics need to interact in order to promote evidence based policy strategies?

Dr. Roberto Bertollini worked as WHO Representative to the EU in Brussels and Chief Scientist of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. He had joined the organization in 1991 and has occupied senior management positions in WHO both at the Headquarters in Geneva and the Regional Office for Europe. Earlier in his career he worked at the Epidemiology Unit of the Lazio Region of Italy. During his professional experience he has carried out missions in several European and African countries, supporting the implementation of health cooperation projects.

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