About The Center
Hippocrates, writing over 2000 years ago, acknowledged that when entering a community and attempting to diagnose the prevalent diseases, a physician must take into account “Airs, Waters and Places”. He stressed the quality of ambient air, water and soil as important determinants of human disease. While the development of modern agricultural techniques has increased the capacity to feed rapidly growing populations, the dependence of intensive practice on multiple chemicals and the pressures on water and soil resources have serious implications for environmental quality, natural habitats and human health.
In Israel, where almost all arable land is currently intensively farmed and freshwater resources are over-utilized, the risk of exposures and adverse health effects related to agricultural activities are high. The proximity of farming to densely populated areas magnifies these risks. In addition, the intensive use of treated effluents (i.e., reclaimed wastewater) for crop irrigation is a new pathway by which xenobiotics are introduced to the agro-ecosystem with the potential of entering the food-chain and affecting human health.
The Hebrew University Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Environmental Health (HUCEAEH) was initiated as a respond to a call for proposal for University Centers of Excellence in Environment and Health by the Environment and Health Fund (EHF) aiming to develop research and non-research-based activities in the field of Environment and Health by contributing to a better understanding of the impact of environmental hazards on human health in Israel. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has decided the Center will be focused on Agriculture and Human Health as a joint task of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine.
The Hebrew University Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Environmental Health (HUCEAEH) was established in April 2012. The Center’s mandate is to explore the interface between modern agricultural activity, environmental quality and human health through multidisciplinary research, dissemination and outreach.