Case School of Medicine




The Vision

The Swetland Center brings a new emphasis to Environmental Health at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals throughout Cleveland. The current focus of this new Center is on environmental health problems of the Cleveland community especially related to toxic exposures of children and their families.

As an academic Center, it has four major components:
  • Medical Education-
    Previously many specific sessions have addressed issues of environmental health in the School of Medicine curriculum. However, the lack of coordination and systematic coverage of the learning objectives in these courses has resulted in these sessions having less impact on students’ learning than they would if the field were to become a named vertical theme in the curriculum. Therefore, the Committee on Medical Education and the Vice Dean for Medical Education, are working to achieve this goal as they pilot the next evolution in the curriculum. The School of Medicine has identified Cynthia F. Bearer, M.D., Ph.D., as the Director of Environmental Health Education, assisted by Kathleen M. Fagan, M.D., M.P.H., to ensure that environmental health receives attention as one of the first vertical themes in this next stage of curriculum reform. The Swetland Center will also extend the environmental education to residents, fellows, and academic and community physicians in part by sponsoring bi-annual national meetings focused on current ‘hot’ issues in Environmental Medicine.
  • Clinical Care-
    Currently there are no general environmental physicians based at University Hospitals of Cleveland who care for adults or children who have health problems stemming from a wide breadth of environmental exposures. Moreover, only a few such physicians are in practice in the greater Cleveland community. A major thrust of the Swetland Center, with the assistance of the Swetland Endowment, will be to recruit academically-oriented physicians trained in Environmental Medicine, who, in addition to seeing patients with environmental exposures, will establish strong research programs and participate vigorously in environmental medicine education. Ideally, the recruited physicians will be trained to provide medical care for both children and adults.
  • Research-
    Dr’s Dearborn and Bearer will continue to conduct exemplary clinical-based environmental research, thereby fostering similar environmentally-oriented efforts throughout local academic medical centers. In addition to expanding their collaborations, a vigorous attempt will be made to enlist other researchers to view their own research programs from an environmental point of view and to bring them into the Swetland Center community.
  • Public Health-
    The Swetland Center seeks to strengthen existing research and prevention collaborations with local public health agencies, Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Cleveland Department of Public Health, and will be an active participant in environmental health education of the community at-large. In addition, the Center will offer its expertise and assistance in assessing and addressing local environmental problems.