Front Porch Blog

Public Health Hero, Dr. Paul Epstein, Passes On

We wanted to take a moment to recognize the life of Dr. Paul Epstein, a lifelong public health advocate who passed away this week at age 67. He is survived by his wife of 44 years Andy, as well as his children Jesse and Benjamin Eptstein.

Dr. Epstein, a good friend of Appalachian Voices, spent his career illuminating the connection between our use of fossil fuels and their externalized cost to our public health and to our economy. A co-founder of the Global Center for Health and the Environment, the Boston Globe celebrated Epstein as a “tireless activist and champion of human rights, environmental justice, and early sentinel of the dangers of fossil fuels.”

Through his work at Harvard, Epstein helped author a landmark study “Mining Coal, Mounting Costs,” which was covered on NPR’s Living on Earth program.

Epstein was one of the first prominent academics to highlight the negative impacts mountaintop removal has on the Appalachian economy, working tirelessly with Appalachian Voices and others to ensure that his team’s data got into the hands of powerful legislators in Congress.

On a personal note, I have to say what a sweet and humble person Dr. Epstein was. I was always amazed that the guy who had been an adviser on Vice-President Gore’s climate slidesow was willing to work with our peers in such an honest and down-to-earth manner.

For a more complete read on Dr. Epstein’s life and work, please see this lovely piece in the New York Times. He will be truly missed.





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  1. Mary Sullivan on December 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    He will be sorely missed.

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