Health & Shale Gas Development: State of the Science

Friday June 10, 2016 8 am – 4 pm
Hyatt Regency
Pittsburgh International Airport, PA

Registration Closed


Program Overview

This is a conference for healthcare providers and community members that will discuss unconventional gas development and related health effects. Join us to understand the interdisciplinary and multi-agency/sector roles in environmental health, and how they are critical in protecting public health.



Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the conference, participants should be able to:

  • Describe environmental health risks related to unconventional gas development.
  • Identify physical and psychological symptoms related to environmental exposures from unconventional gas extraction and development.
  • Characterize unconventional gas development health risks across populations and across the life cycle.
  • Identify the role governmental agencies play in protecting the health of communities impacted by unconventional gas development.



Target Audience

This continuing education activity is meant to attract physicians, residents, medical students, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, social workers and community members interested in learning about the health impacts of gas drilling activities.




*Robert Laumbach, MD, MPH, Faculty, Clinical Research and Occupational Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

*Brian Schwartz, MD, MS, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, and Medicine,
Senior Investigator, Geisinger Center for Health Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

*Michael Abesamis, MD, Director of Medical Toxicology Outpatient Clinic, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

*David Brown, ScD, Consultant, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Deborah Cowden, MD, Knox County Health Department Physician, Mount Vernon, OH

*Larysa Dyrszka, MD, Pediatrician, Co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Glen Spey, NY

*Lydia Greiner, MSN, APRN, PMHNP – BC Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Consultant, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Nina Kaktins, PhD (c), MS, RN, Adjunct Professor of Nursing, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

*Edward Ketyer, MD, Pediatrician, Pediatric Alliance, Canonsburg, PA

*Jill Kriesky, PhD, MS, Associate Director, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Global and Public Health College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

*Susan Nagel, PhD, Associate Professor, Obstetrics Gynecology & Women’s Health, University of Missouri, School of Medicine, Columbia, MO

*Robert Oswald, PhD, Professor of Molecular Medicine, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, New York

*Carole Perry, PhD, MPH, RN, Course Director, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Bruce Pitt, PhD, Professor and Environmental & Occupational Health Chair, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

*Cynthia Richburg, PhD, CCC-A, Professor/Audiologist, Special Education & Clinical Services Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA

*Raina Rippel, BA, Director, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Poune’ Saberi, MD, MPH, Philadelphia VA Assistant Professor, Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Occupational Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

*John Smith, Esq., Zoning & Land Use Law, Smith Butz – Attorneys at Law, Canonsburg, PA

*John Snawder, PhD, Leader, Biomonitoring Research Team, National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Cincinnati, OH

*Leslie Walleigh, MD, MPH, Maine Medical Center, Occupational Medicine and Public Health Consultant, Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA

*Beth Weinberger, PhD, Consultant, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, McMurray, PA



Program Schedule

8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration
9:00 am – 9:15 am Welcome, Introduction/Overview
9:15 am – 10:15 am Morning keynote – Robert Laumbach, MD, MPH
“Fracking Fumes: Air Pollution Impacts on Health and Well-being”
10:15 am – 10:30 am Refreshment Break
10:30 am – 11:15 am Breakout Sessions
Clinical Track option:

  1. “Shale: The Documented Health Effects and Discussion of Limitations of the Studies” — Deborah Cowden, MD
  2. “Kids’ Health in the Gas Patch” – Edward Ketyer, MD
  3. “Developing a Case Definition for Shale Drilling Health Effects” – Leslie Walleigh, MD, MPH

Health Education Track option:

  1. “Voices from the Community: Environmental Health Concerns of Residents in Northeast Pennsylvania” – Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN
  2. “Fracking Operations 101: What you Need to Know” – Nina Kaktins, PhD(c), MS, RN
11:15 am – 12:00 pm Breakout Sessions
Clinical Track option:

  1. “Perinatal Outcomes and Unconventional Natural Gas Operations in Southwest Pennsylvania” – Bruce Pitt, PhD
  2. “Mental Health and Unconventional Oil & Gas Development” – Lydia Greiner, MSN, APRN, PMHNP – BC
  3. “Impacts of Gas Drilling & Infrastructure on Human & Animal Health” – Robert Oswald, PhD

Health Education Track option:

  1. “Zoning and Oil & Gas Development before Local Governments” — John Smith, Esq.
  2. “The Shale Gas Exposure Problem in the Context of Actual Clinical Risk: Tools to Determine the Relationships of the Air and Water Exposures to Acute and Long-term Health Effects at an Individual Site” – David Brown, ScD
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm Break
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm Afternoon keynote – Brian Schwartz, MD, MS
“Shale Gas Development and Health: Update on Studies of the Geisinger Environmental Health Institute”
1:15 pm – 2:00 pm Breakout Sessions
Clinical Track option:

  1. “Endocrine Disrupting Activity and Developmental Programming of Adult Disease Associated with Chemicals used in and Produced by Oil & Gas Operations” – Susan Nagel, PhD
  2. “NIOSH Oil & Gas Extraction Sector Program: Overview of Safety and Exposure Assessment Research” – John Snawder, PhD
  3. “Hydraulic Fracturing: Experiences with Clinical Evaluation” – Michael Abesamis, MD

Health Education Track option:

  1. “Shale Gas and Children: Managing Risks” – Beth Weinberger, PhD
  2. “Fracking Noise and Lights: Impacts on Local Residents” – Cynthia Richburg, PhD
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm Refreshment Break
2:15 pm – 3:45 pm Panel Sessions
Clinical Track:
“Clinical Cases from the Field” – Leslie Walleigh, MD, MPH; Poune’ Saberi, MD, MPH; Michael Abesamis, MD
Health Education Track:
“Best Practices for Residents” – Larysa Dyrszka, MD; Ruth McDermott Levy, PhD, MPH, MSN, RN
3:45 pm – 4:00 pm Evaluation
4:00 pm Adjourn



Meeting Location/Accommodations

The event will be held in the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency, Pittsburgh International Airport.

1111 Airport Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15231.

A limited number of hotel rooms have been contracted for attendees. You may book a room by calling Hyatt reservations at 1-888-421-1442 and referencing this event. These accommodations are not included in the registration fee. Room availability cannot be guaranteed beyond the block or the contracted end date of Thursday, May 19, 2016.




Sponsored By

Sponsored by Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences and University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Continuing Education Program.

Co-sponsored by Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania Healthcare Professionals for a Livable Future.

CME Accreditation and Designation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Other health care professionals are awarded 0.6 continuing education units (CEU’s) which are equal to 6.0 contact hours.

This program is offered for 5.5 hours of social work continuing education through co-sponsorship of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, a Council on Social Work Education-accredited school and, therefore, a PA pre-approved provider of social work continuing education. These credit hours satisfy requirements for LSW/LCSW, LPC and LMFT biennial licensure renewal. For information on social work continuing education call 412) 624-3711.

ACT 48 hours available upon request.

The American with Disabilities Act Information:

Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by calling 724-260-5504.

Faculty Disclosure:

All individuals in a position to control the content of this education activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any proprietary entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on or consumed by, patients.

Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action:

The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.