Devra Davis

Devra Lee Davis, (born June 7, 1946) is an American epidemiologist and writer.[1]


Devra Lee Davis

Born (1946-06-07) June 7, 1946 (age 74)
Known forEpidemiologist and Writer
Spouse(s)Richard D. Morgenstern

Davis works on disease prevention and environmental health factors. She served as the President Clinton appointee to the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board from 1994 to 1999, having won bipartisan Senate confirmation. She was Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology, the first of its kind in the world, and presently acts as President of Environmental Health Trust, a non-profit organization focusing on drawing attention to man-made health threats. She lectures at American and European universities and her research has been covered in major scientific publications as well as being highlighted on major media outlets like CNN, CSPAN, CBC, BBC, and public radio.[2][3] In recent years, her attention has become focused on the health hazards of exposures to man-made sources of electromagnetic radiation, especially those from wireless devices.

She has also authored more than 190 publications in books and journals ranging from The Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association to Scientific American and The New York Times, and writes for blogs such as Freakonomics in the New York Times, in The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.[4] She co-founded the Environmental Health Trust in 2007,[4] with David Servan-Schreiber.[citation needed]


Davis received a BS and an MA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967,[1] where she held National Science Foundation fellowships as an honors undergraduate and graduate student. A former Scholar in Residence at the National Academy of Sciences, she completed her PhD in science studies at the University of Chicago as a Danforth Fellow, and a MPH at Johns Hopkins University as a National Cancer Institute post-doctoral fellow.[1] She held post-doctoral positions with the National Science Foundation; in the history, sociology, and philosophy of science at Catholic University in 1971; and with the World Man Fund and Lorenz K Y Ng, MD at the National Institutes of Health between 1975 and 1976.

Professional lifeEdit

From 1970 to 1976, Davis was assistant professor of sociology at Queens College of City University of New York. Between 1982 and 2002, she was a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Hygiene and Public Health.[1] She has held a number of posts at universities around the world, and as of 2011 was Senior Distinguished Visiting Research Scholar in the WHO Collaborating Center for Capacity Building in Public Health at Hebrew University, Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

Other previous positions are as follows:

She served as a visiting scholar at Hebrew University, School of Public Health, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 1989.[1]

She was the founding director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute[4] from 2004 to 2010. The multidisciplinary center included experts in medicine, basic research, engineering, and public policy, who developed cutting-edge studies to identify the causes of cancer and propose policies to reduce the risks of the disease. She was also founding director of the National Academies of Sciences, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the US National Research Council, from 1983 to 1993, and served as Scholar in Residence from 1990 to 1993.

Other professional activitiesEdit

A member of both the American Colleges of Toxicology and of Epidemiology,[4] Davis was also a visiting professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City,[1] appointed by Irving Selikoff, a founder of occupational medicine in 1988, until that appointment was terminated by Philip Landrigan in 2010. In addition, she was a visiting scientist of the Strang Cornell Cancer Prevention Center of Rockefeller University in 1994.[1] She also advised the World Health Organization in developing its program on environmental health indicators and children's environmental health, and traveled with the United Nations Development Program to China to advise on programmatic issues.

She served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the US National Toxicology Program between 1983 and 1986[4] and was a member of the Presidio Advisory Committee to the US government, and a steering committee member of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

In 2001, Davis became one of the founders of the Green Zionist Alliance: The Grassroots Campaign for a Sustainable Israel[5] and was part of the Green Zionist Alliance slate for elections for the World Zionist Congress in 2002.[6]

Health of womenEdit

Davis was Scientific Advisor to the Women's Environment and Development Organization in 1995.[1] Davis was also a founding member of the International Breast Cancer Prevention Collaborative Research Group,[1] an organization dedicated to exploring the avoidable causes of breast cancer. She, with Lloyd Morgan and Michael Kundi, reported on unexplained differences in brain tumors between men and women at the annual meeting of the Bioelectromagnetics Society.


Davis has served on the Board of the Climate Institute,[1] the Coalition of Organizations on the Environment and Jewish Life,[1] and the Earthfire Institute; and is a scientific adviser to the UK registered charity MobileWise.[7] She also has advised Green America, Environmental Working Group, the Green Guide, and Healthy Child—non-profit organizations that promote environmental health. She occasionally discusses avoidable environmental health hazards on national and local programming with NPR, Fox News, CNN, ABC, PBS, CBC, BBC,[4] Dutch Public Television, and others.[8] She also served as a Lead Author of a chapter on mitigation costs in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report "IPCC TAR Working Group III: Mitigation".

She founded the non-profit Environmental Health Trust in 2007,[4] with David Servan-Schreiber.[citation needed]


Tackling publicly sensitive topics from tobacco, to asbestos to overuse of diagnostic radiation, Davis's findings and methods have been criticized,[9] in some cases being called "junk science", especially for raising concerns about cellphone safety.[10][11]

Davis publicly criticized the prominent epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll, noting in her book The Secret History of the War on Cancer that his work discovering the link between tobacco and lung cancer in 1955 had been influenced by earlier German studies in the 1930s that he had not acknowledged. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, reviewed Davis' work favorably in a lengthy analysis in The New York Review of Books, taking great exception, however, to her critique of Doll.[12]


Davis was honored by the Betty Ford Comprehensive Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society with the Breast Cancer Awareness Award, commended by the Director of the National Cancer Institute for Outstanding Service, and appointed a Global Environmental advisor to Newsweek Magazine.[4]

She was a recipient of a Women's Leadership Exchange Compass Award, presented by OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express, for breaking the paradigms of how women are perceived, Davis received the first Lisa Zhang Environmental Award from the United Nations in July 2008.[4]

In June 2009, Davis received the Artemis Award presented by the Euro-American Women's Council and the Greek Foreign Ministry in recognition of her outstanding contributions to science and public health policy.[4] In 2010, she was awarded the Carnegie Science Medal. In 2012, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Green America.[2][13]

She was also awarded the Nautilus Books Silver Medal for Courageous Reporting,[2] and chosen by Amazon editors as a top pick of 2014.

Personal lifeEdit

Davis is married to economist Richard D. Morgenstern. They live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and have five grandchildren.[14]


Davis' books have been translated into Chinese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Japanese, and Estonian. She was National Book Award finalist, for When Smoke Ran Like Water (2002), which begins with the tale of the Donora Smog of 1948.[1][4]

Publications include the following:

  • Trends in Cancer Mortality in Industrial Countries (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) (New York Academy of Sciences, 1990). ISBN 978-0897666435.[1]
  • Urban Air Pollution Risks to Children: A Global Environmental Health Indicator (World Resources Institute, 1999). ISBN 978-1569734278.[1]
  • When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception And the Battle Against Pollution. (Diane Publishing Company, 2002). ISBN 978-0465015221.
  • The Secret History of the War on Cancer (Basic Books, 2007). ISBN 978-0465015689.[1]
  • Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family (Dutton Adult, 2010; paperback, Plume, 2011; Environmental Health Trust, 2013). ISBN 978-0991219902. Davis also co-produced a 2014 documentary film, Mobilize, based on the book.[15]

Audio recordingsEdit

Mainstream media referencesEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Curriculum vitae 2011" (MS Word). Environmental Health Trust. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Huffington Post, Devra Davis Bio".
  3. ^ "Healthy Child, Devra Davis Bio". Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "About Dr. Davis". Environmental Health Trust. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "GZA Co-Founders". Green Zionist Alliance.
  6. ^ "GZA 2002 charter delegate slate for the 34th World Zionist Congress". Green Zionist Alliance.
  7. ^ "Our advisors". MobileWise. 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  8. ^ "EHT Home". Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Kinney, William H. "Junk Science: More Research is Needed". Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Trottier, Lorne. "A Disconnect between cell phone fears and science". Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  11. ^ Park, Bob (December 10, 2010). "What's New". Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Horton, Richard (March 6, 2008). "Cancer: Malignant Maneuvers". Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Devra Davis Win Green America's BEA Awards". Green America. July 17, 2012. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2017. Dr. Devra Davis also received a Lifetime Achievement for her groundbreaking work on the link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer.
  14. ^ "About Dr. Davis". Environmental Health Trust. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Moore, Chris (September 15, 2014). "Are Cell Phones Really Giving Us Cancer?". CBS Pittsburgh. Retrieved October 8, 2017.

External linksEdit