Thank you for helping to make the world healthier for our children and grandchildren!

The scientists and staff of the New England Family Study, would like to express our gratitude to the NEFS participants for all that you have done over the past fifty years.  Together, we have made discoveries that have had far-reaching positive effects on the health of people all over the world.  You have made a difference in countless lives and continue to do so.

Each generation is born into a world with often overwhelming health challenges.  Thanks to the dedicated work of physicians, patients, scientists, and study participants, each generation in our lifetime has made tremendous strides to make the world healthier.  Think back to the world your parents inherited and what their generation accomplished to make life better for you – their children – and their grandchildren.

Your parents’ generation tackled the most pressing health challenges of their time, including polio, influenza, and premature births.  As a result of their determination and perseverance, they passed on to you and the world polio vaccines, flu vaccines, neonatal intensive care units, and scores of other major prevention and treatment innovations that protected you, your children, and your grandchildren from disease and lengthened our life spans.

The world that our generation inherited faces new concerns – autism, heart disease, cancer, and more – diseases that we suspect are to a large degree influenced by environmental conditions that we encounter.  As a response to a growing appreciation of how the environment impacts health, your generation has not only studied diseases from an environmental perspective, but you have also made small but important changes in your daily life that are having a positive impact on your health and well-being as well as the health of the earth.  You’re now eating healthier food to help combat obesity and diabetes.  You’re reducing your exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and other harmful effects of the sun’s rays.  You’re driving vehicles less and making each trip count for multiple purposes, helping to reduce carbon emissions and their resulting lung diseases.  You’re recycling, repurposing, composting, exercising, de-stressing, giving up smoking, making more time for friends and family, and paying attention to the seemingly small yet major environmental changes you can incorporate into your life to be healthier and live longer.

Just as your parents’ generation left the world a healthier place for you, you and the staff of the New England Family Study are continuing to work hard to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren.  Together, we’ve already made significant strides in discovering environmental conditions that pregnant women and young children encounter which can speed up or slow down disease processes related to heart disease, cancer, and mental illness.  As our work together continues, our legacy for advancing the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren will grow.  Again, thank you for helping to make a difference in many lives all over the world!

Stephen Buka, ScD

Director, New England Family Study

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