The Death of Evidence: Implications for Global Health

Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Soto Street Building (SSB), 115/116
2001 N. Soto Street , Los Angeles, CA 90033

Join us for our farewell lecture presented by USC Institute for Global Health Director Jonathan Samet.

ROOM CHANGE: The lecture will be taking place in SSB 115/116.

Science advances knowledge, chiseling at areas of ignorance and reducing uncertainties, which may slow evidence-based decision-making.  With regard to environmental pollution, for example, great progress has been made as research has documented the damage done to human and ecosystem system health by man’s activities, motivating action and guiding interventions.  However, over recent decades, the paradigm of evidence-based decision-making has been increasingly threatened as powerful stakeholders, with seemingly threatened interests, have undermined scientific evidence by creating doubt and even offering personal and collective beliefs as an equivalent basis for decision-making. The strategy of doubt creation can be traced to actions of the tobacco industry initiated as the evidence mounted showing that smoking causes cancer and other diseases; the same tactics have spread, particularly around environmental pollutants.  More challenging is the emergence of outright dismissal of evidence and its replacement by belief, whether consistent with or counter to what is known.

Jonathan Samet
Director, USC Institute for Global Health
Distinguished Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine
University of Southern California


Suggested reading:

“The Trump Administration and the Environment — Heed the Science” in The New England Journal of Medicine by Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., Thomas A. Burke, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Bernard D. Goldstein, M.D.

This talk is part of the 2017-2018 USC Global Health Lecture Series and is hosted by the USC Institute for Global Health. 

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


Health Sciences Campus




Institute for Global Health


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