TRMD 690 Seminar:”Examining the Health Concerns of Environmental Contamination Through the Lens of Food Security”, Catherine Pirkle, PhD


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


JABSOM Medical Education Bldg. Rm 315
651 Ilalo St., Honolulu,, HI, 96813

Event Type

In Person and By Zoom

Contact for passcode.

Catherine Pirkle, PhD
Associate Professor
Office of Public Health Studies
Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health


This presentation will apply the Committee on World Food Security Framework to comprehensively examine health concerns associated with exposure to environmental contaminants, such as mercury, lead, and polychlorinated bi-phenyls. It will focus on marine contaminants and fish consumption, but will also address emerging concerns from recent per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances detection on Oʻahu and environmental exposures from the Maui Wildfires. Research presented during this session will cover multiple geographical contexts and highlight health concerns of particular relevance to Indigenous Peoples and Islanders.


Catherine Pirkle is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Trained in both life-course and environmental epidemiology, she has worked for two decades in the field of women’s health. Her research has brought her to West Africa, where she completed several projects evaluating interventions to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality. She has also spent over a decade examining pivotal reproductive health milestones across the life-course—age at first birth, lifetime childbirths, age and type of menopause—and their associations with chronic disease, frailty, and mobility disability. Her training in environmental epidemiology has brought her to the Canadian Arctic, Bermuda and Colombia where she conducted research and provided technical assistance to better document and understand the impacts of environmental contamination on food security and ultimately, the health of pregnant women and their children. She has extended this research to the Pacific region and has current projects in Hawaiʻi on marine pollution, food security, and disasters.