UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, August 2013

Spotlight on Tracey Woodruff:  2013 Sustainability Award Winner

Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Associate Professor and Director of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE), was recently awarded the UCSF 2013 Sustainability Award in the Faculty category.  Dr. Woodruff was recognized for her research on the effects of environmental chemicals on early human development and for her work on educating others on how to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.

Congratulations Dr. Woodruff!

We had the opportunity to ask the Dr. Woodruff a few questions about sustainability:

1.  Why do you think sustainability is important for UCSF?

TraceyUCSF is committed to advancing health worldwide and sustainability is integral to this mission. Recognition that a sustainable, healthy future is inextricably linked to preventing harmful environmental exposures is at the core of the PRHE’s mission. We conduct cutting-edge research on developmental exposures to environmental chemicals and how they may be affecting pregnancies, children and future generations. 

We translate these and other scientific findings into improved clinical care and public policy. The institutional changes that UCSF is making to become more sustainable will drive the marketplace and public policy. UCSF’s work in research and research translation drives discovery and health improvement worldwide;  UCSF’s leadership in sustainability will similarly advance global health.

2.  What accomplishment are you most proud of around promoting LiveGreen at UCSF?

I am most proud of our contribution to the increased recognition of the relationship between the environment and health among UCSF and the larger health community.  In particular, our work to advance environmental health among obstetricians and gynecologists and their professional societies, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Both of these organizations currently have presidents who are champions of reproductive environmental health (the president of ASRM is Dr. Linda Giudice, who founded PRHE).  To increase the capacity of reproductive health professionals to address the environmental drivers of their patients’ and communities health, we developed a highly recognized set of concrete recommendations in our “All That Matters” series for avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals at home, in the workplace and in their communities.

3.  What is one action you would like to see your fellow staff/students take?

I would like to see UCSF staff and students engage in activities that produce fundamental change for sustainability, through encouraging UCSF to be more sustainable and by encouraging better public policy to support sustainability.  While we can control some environmental exposure through individual action, sustainable solutions lie beyond our individual reach and require concerted action at an institutional and governmental level. You can only make sustainable choices as a consumer if sustainable choices are available.

4.  How do you personally live and work sustainably?

I dedicate my work to conducting the highest quality research to answer key questions that provide the best information to support the ability of the public, patients and policy makers to make informed decisions for preventing harmful exposures to chemicals, which lead to better health for them, their children and their children’s children.