Georges Benjamin

Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, is executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Recent Articles

Healthy Communities, Healthy People

I work just blocks from one of the poorest areas in Washington, D.C. There are liquor stores, convenience stores, and gas stations, but nothing resembling a grocery store with fresh, affordable produce. The playgrounds are dilapidated, with rusting swing sets and forlorn basketball poles. Kids don't have safe places to play, and adults don't have easy access to exercise. Miles away in my quiet suburban neighborhood, kids are bused to school because the main route isn't safe for walking. Likewise, the nearby supermarket sits across a busy, four-lane road. While suburbia is a far different environment than the inner city, one factor directly affects human health no matter where we live: the “built environment.” The built environment -- the places we live, work, play, and learn -- can dramatically influence our health. Stress and poor nutrition lead to heart disease. Ending the day on the couch instead of strolling around the block promotes obesity. In neighborhoods without a pharmacy,...