Environmental Health Professor Emeritus to advise the CDC

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
January 14, 2010


Later this month, ISU Professor Emeritus Herman Koren will advise a division of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention about how to best prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.

Koren will make his Jan. 19 presentation, via video conference from Pinellas County Health Department in St. Petersburg, Fla., to an Atlanta audience of the CDC Division for Environmental Health.

His primary objective is to share the systems approach he taught at ISU 15 years ago to help health officials better understand and respond to public health problems.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," he said. "What worked when it was developed in 1953 can still work. Only modifications and scientific updates are needed."

Koren will discuss the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point method that has been used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards and reduce or eliminate the risk of those hazards being realized.

Koren's presentation is designed to highlight methods of the past that can used to solve health-related problems in many settings today, including hospitals and other medical care facilities.

"This systems approach could be and should be used for all environmental health problems, whether they be on-site sewage disposal, indoor air pollution, institutional environmental health or swimming pools," he said. "It should also be used to help resolve community health problems."

Biff Williams, dean of the ISU College of Nursing, Health, and Human Performance, met last summer with Koren at his home in Florida. Williams, who came to ISU after Koren retired, said what was intended to be a brief meeting stretched into a full day because the two had so much information to share.

"I'm amazed at how long retired he is and yet he continues to make significant impact in addressing community health issues," Williams said. "Because of his expertise, it is not a shock that the CDC is asking for his guidance. He is phenomenal."

Koren is the author of 19 books. He developed the environmental health program at ISU in 1967 that graduated more than 500 students and offered more than 1,150 internship opportunities.

Additionally, Koren has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. He retired from ISU in 1995.

Even though Koren is no longer teaching in the classroom, his passion for educating people about community health issues remains.

"Since 9/11 the potential for foreign attack through our food supply has increased dramatically," he said. "It is a threat that we don't take seriously enough."


Contact: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University at 812-237-3790 or rachel.mcclelland@indstate.edu