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Marijuana, Monsters, & Milk: Public Health Perspectives

Want to know more about health risks associated with bottled water? vaccinations? cell phone use? “monster” energy drinks? Wonder how marijuana cultivation is connected to environmental health?
The College of Veterinary Medicine is hosting a free community forum on Thursday, January 24, from 7 to 9 pm. at the vet school, 2001 S Lincoln in Urbana.

This will be the first in a series of four talks, entitled “One Health & You: News You Can Use,” slated for this spring and organized through the college’s Center for One Health Illinois, and will feature four speakers covering a range of health topics.


  •     Dan Linn, executive director, Illinois NORML: Marijuana research and policy
  •     Dr. Yvette Johnson-Walker, University of Illinois: Energy (“monster”) drinks and heart disease, cell phones and cancer studies
  •     Awais Vaid, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District: Vaccination safety, rabies, and gastroenteritis
  •     Dr. Jack Herrmann, University of Illinois: Antimicrobials in milk and meat, safety of bottled water, hand sanitizers

Throughout the series, the first hour will be devoted to science-based presentations from a panel of experts, and the second hour will allow attendees to ask questions and offer comments.

“The purpose of the lecture series is to provide the general public with reliable information and to clear up misconceptions,” notes Dr. Herrmann, one of the directors of the Center for One Health Illinois and an organizer of the series. Dr. Herrmann, a faculty member at the College of Veterinary Medicine, holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and a master’s in public health.

“For example, there is a belief held by some that immunization may cause autism in children, but studies have shown this to be unfounded,” says Dr. Herrmann. “We will present evidence that reflects current scientific consensus. While people are entitled to their opinions, no one is entitled to make stuff up.”

Three additional public forums have been scheduled:

  •  Health Risk or Hype: Emerging Diseases You Should Care About, March 7, Urbana; regarding relative health risks associated with tick-borne diseases, Hanta virus, West Nile virus, whooping cough, tularemia, plague, antimicrobial resistance, and more
  •  The Raw Facts: Food Fads, Fears, Fables and Safety, April 16, Urbana; covering raw diets for people and pets, unpasteurized dairy products, and food safety regulations
  •  Of Pugs, Pigs, and Pandas: Animal Welfare at Home, Farm, Lab and Zoo, May 21, Urbana

The April and May sessions will also be repeated at the Brookfield Zoo on the day following the Urbana presentation.

More information is available online at

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