2017 Fall Forum: Health and the Environment in North Carolina

Environmental Health Scholars Program at Duke University

Julia Kravchenko

M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Duke University

juliaDr. Julia Kravchenko is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center. She studies the role of multiple factors in disease risks, disease incidence, prevalence, and patients’ survival with the focus on the role of environment (e.g. air and water quality, extreme temperatures, etc.). She works within the Environmental Health Scholars Program at Duke University School of Medicine that is led by Dr. H. Kim Lyerly and aims to investigate the relationships between health, environmental, and medical care data in North Carolina and the U.S. She also does Medicare-based and Medicare-linked large health data analysis of cancer and chronic non-cancer disease incidence, progression, treatment effectiveness, and survival among the older U.S. adults, as well studies the role of comorbidities in cancer patients in treatment choice and patients’ survival.

One of Dr. Kravchenko’s research topics is evaluation of how improving air quality in North Carolina impacts respiratory, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality: i.e., in what degree cumulative effects of federal and North Carolina acts and regulations were beneficial for the health of residential populations.

Another research topic is the health of residential populations living in close proximity to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in North Carolina. While North Carolina remains the second largest U.S. producer of pig and hog products, the spectrum of potential health impacts of this industry on human health remains unclear. Also, while contamination of surface water near CAFOs is regulated to some extent, emission by CAFOs air pollutants remain unregulated. Therefore, it is important to evaluate wide spectrum of diseases and the effectiveness of medical care of NC residents living near CAFOs, including such vulnerable to environmental exposures groups as children, people with chronic diseases, and older adults. That will help to develop targeted prevention and improve health care in affected communities and inform the specialists in air quality in their studies on air quality standards and regulations for CAFOs areas.

Among Dr. Kravchenko’s undergoing studies are also evaluation of the health of people living in close proximity to coal ash pits in North Carolina, and analysis of contributions of environmental factors to geographic disparities in morbidity and life expectancy in the U.S with the goal to identify the critical barriers to improving population health in the U.S. and help to develop the interventions that address specific factors that drive health disparities.

Dr. Kravchenko received her M.D. degree from Minsk State Medical University (Belarus) in 1992, and her Ph.D. at the Belarussian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education in 1999.