PROFILE: Kevin Browngoehl
A pediatrician by training and an outdoorsman by passion, Dr. Kevin Browngoehl has become a leading advocate for the protection of biodiversity. You may find him standing at the side of an elected official during a press conference, writing letters to his fellow physicians, speaking to a group of medical students about the rain forest, holding one of his young patients, or encouraging his or her parents to send empty medicine bottles to Congress to emphasize that many medicines come from nature. Says Browngoehl, "It is a natural extension of someone who is interested in health care and preventive health care to look at the big picture."
Dr. Browngoehl's strong advocacy for preserving Earth's biodiversity stems in part from his experience with children suffering from leukemia. Not long ago, this illness was inevitably fatal. Today, more than seventy percent of children with leukemia are cured-in part due to treatment with a potent drug discovered in the rosy periwinkle plant, which is native to Madagascar. Concerned that weakening the Endangered Species Act (ESA) might result in the loss of many potential drugs, Browngoehl says, "If we continue down the pathway of a short-sighted policy to the ESA, then future generations will not be as fortunate."
More About This Resource...
This online article, from The Biodiversity Crisis: Losing What Counts, profiles a pediatrician who's also a leading advocate for preserving Earth's biodiversity. It takes a quick look at:
- Kevin Browngoehl's career as a pediatrician and Congressional lobbyist.
- How a plant native to Madagascar has played a crucial role in treating leukemia.
- Browngoehl's concerns that a weakening of the Endangered Species Act could negatively impact the discovery of future drugs.
Supplement a study of ecology or biodiversity with an activity drawn from this essay about an advocate for preserving biodiversity.
- Ask students to list the many uses of plants. Then have them speculate about what we might lose with the loss of plant species.
- Send students to this online article, or print copies of the essay for them to read.
- Have them write a one-page reaction to the article, focusing on what they learned about the rosy periwinkle plant and about preserving the planet's biodiversity.