Dr. Paul D. Blanc: Professor of Medicine & Endowed Chair in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, University of California San Francisco

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Dr. Paul D. Blanc MD MSPH is Professor of Medicine and holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where he has been on faculty since 1988. Blanc received his BA from Goddard College, an experimental liberal arts college in Plainfield, Vermont. It was there that he first became interested in health and the environment. He subsequently trained at the Harvard School of Public Health in industrial hygiene, at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, and at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, where he completed a joint Occupational Medicine and Internal Medicine Residency. He has been a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCSF, a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center and the American Academy in Rome. In 2013-4 he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has authored numerous scholarly publications in his field and is the author of How Everyday Products Make People Sick (University of California Press, 2009 http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520261273) and more recently, Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon (Yale University Press, 2016 http://yalebooks.com/book/9780300204667/fake-silk). Blanc also writes a blog, Household Hazards, that is hosted by the magazine Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/household-hazards).

What do I do best?

When I investigate on-the-job and environmental exposures that cause adverse health effects, I connect the dots.  

What makes me the best version of myself?

Creative tenacity.

What are my aspirations?

I aspire to inspire when I teach and to lead by example.

My Biggest Success?

Seeing through to publication Fake Silk, a book on the history of workers’ poisoning in the rayon industry that took ten years of research to come to fruition.  

My Most Challenging Moment?

Deciding to come back and go to school after living a year on kibbutz.

My Motto?

In medicine, the classic dictum is “First, do no harm” – but maybe simpler is just try to make the world a little better.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Tom Hayden, the activist for social justice, was the smartest and most inspiring person I have ever known.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

Vermont and Tel Aviv.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

My favorite object is an old leather-bound volume, all the better with marginalia written in by a former owner.

My Current Passions?

History and what it holds to awaken in someone exploring it.