John Balmes Named Clean Air Hero

Photo: Paul Blanc

Dr. William A. Burke, Governing Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Dr. John R. Balmes
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The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) honored COEH Director John Balmes with the Robert M. Zweig, MD, Memorial Award at their annual Clean Air Award ceremony held in Los Angeles in October 2012. Balmes, who also serves as the medical member of the California Air Resources Board, won the award for his deep commitment to improving public health by reducing air pollution.

“We have the privilege each year to honor exceptional individuals and businesses whose environmental efforts shine bright,” AQMD Governing Board Chairman William A. Burke noted in a press release. “The winners are inspiring and show each of us that we can make a positive difference for our environment.”

Balmes is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF where he is chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, and director of the Human Exposure Laboratory (HEL) of the Lung Biology Center. Under the leadership of Balmes, the HEL was the first group to demonstrate microscopic tissue-based evidence of ozone-induced airway injury and inflammation in humans.

Balmes is also professor of Environmental Health Sciences at UC Berkeley where he directs the Center for Environmental Public Health Tracking. At the center, he collaborates in epidemiological studies of chronic effects of air pollutants, including the effects of ozone on individuals with asthma, and the impacts of inhaled particulate matter on the respiratory system.

AQMD established the award in honor of Robert M. Zweig, a family practice physician who championed the cause of clean air and served on many air quality advisory committees.

Adapted from AQMD’s press release http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/2012/CCA2012.htm.

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