Biographical Sketch: Janine M. H. Selendy

Janine M. H. Selendy is Co-Chair, Founder, and Publisher of Horizon International, a non-profit organization based at Yale University, which works to find and advance solutions to the interrelated concerns of global health, environment and poverty.  For thirty years, she has worked with Horizon International to share knowledge of what can and is being done in order that that knowledge can benefit others. She is a generalist whose background in medical, scientific, environmental and other areas provides her with an appreciation of the interconnectedness of many subjects.

For her recent publication, "Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures, published by Wiley-Blackwell in collaboration with Horizon International, she brought together 59 experts from the fields of public health, medicine, epidemiology, environmental health, climate change, environmental engineering, and population research to write the book and provide material for its accompanying 4 hours of multimedia DVDs. She is the Editor and co-author of its Introduction.  This authoritative volume provides an understanding of the interconnection among many factors linked to water related diseases, sanitation, and hygiene. Preventive measures and innovative, successful solutions are presented throughout, as well as featured in more detail in a special section at the end of the book.

This publication originated from a syllabus on water and sanitation she prepared at the invitation of Yale School of Public Health which was the basis of subsequent lectures she gave at both Yale and at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Several members of the Horizon International Scientific Review Board and other Advisors are among the authors.

Recognizing the consequences of climate change now evident and that need to be anticipated in order to minimize foreseeable and unforeseen consequences, climate change is factored into the 2nd Edition’s updated and revised chapters new chapters. The new edition is entitled Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Changing Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures.  It is now with the publisher, Wiley.

In advance of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, Selendy brought together and co-chaired with  Dr. Nay Htun, 30 experts. (At that time, Horizon had offices at both Harvard and Yale.) The result was the Harvard-Yale Horizon Problem Solving Program (HYH Program) used by Dr. Htun, an Earth Summit organizer in drafting of Agenda 21. The Program also formed the basis of the Horizon internship and research program and laid the foundation for its Solutions Site, at,  a collaborative program developed by Horizon International with UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNICEF, the IDRC, Yale University and Horizon's colleagues at Harvard. Selendy is Principal Editor and Publisher.

With the financial assistance of a National Science Foundation Planning Grant for which Selendy was the Principle Investigator, she oversaw development of Horizon's oceans and coral reefs program whose Web site, for which she is Publisher and Editor, and, was recognized by American Library Association as a "Great Web Site for Kids." Aquariums, museums, and organizations  including the Monterey Aquarium, Field Museum, and Wild Dolphin Project are among the collaborating entities contributing material and making available its resources including educational playing cards.  

Under her direction as Executive Producer, Producer and Director, Horizon International produced 20 television documentaries. Swedish, German, China and Mexican TV stations, were, among others, co-producers of the programs. Lynn Redgrave, Raso Ouedrago, Johan Forssblad, Sam Waterston were among the hosts and narrators. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lippincott Foundation, UNFPA, Laurance S. Rockefeller, and many others. Programs include “Cooperating for Clean Air,” “Integrated Pest Management,” and “Holland’s Storm Surge Barrier.”  “Burkina-be: People with a Future,” produced with support from the United Nations Population Fund for the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995, was credited by UNDP and UNIFEM with helping advance the community sustainable production of shea butter and, by doing so, advance not only the economy, especially for girls and women participants, but also their related educational, maternal and child health, and AIDs prevention programs. While filming in Peru, “Fish Farming in Amazonia,” she and her team filmed significant aspects of the lives of the then endangered vicuña with a population of little 6,000 in 1969. On behalf of the Peruvian government, WWF, IUCN, Selendy presented the film as testimony at CITES, influencing the decision to allow the vicuna to be sheared live and protected, while benefiting the economy of the people. Today, there are more about 350,000 vicuña.  Awards included a Cine Golden Eagle.

As producer, Selendy’s role required research, knowledge of the subjects, writing, editing and fact checking with advisors as well as making co-production arrangements, in-country research and filming preparations, selecting talent and production teams and overseeing entire productions. 

Selendy has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, EPIIC at Tufts University, Lund University, for the USAID in Pakistan, and for a Science Conference in Thailand, participated in forums at the World Bank and at the UN, consulted for UN-Habitat, WHO and the World Bank, and judged the First Annual Yale Global Health Case Competition.

She has mentored volunteers, interns and research fellows, Yale, Harvard, and international undergraduate and graduate students, who have helped to advance Horizon International’s goals while improving their own academic and professional abilities. One organized an international conference in Peru with Horizon-Peru, helping her to become a Marshall Scholar. Another, worked together with Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa to prepare the reviewed case study, “The Men as Partners Program,” published on the Horizon Solutions Site. A Ghanaian, Julius Fobil, furthered his research skills and completed a case study, deemed very valuable by its reviewer, the late Dr. Andrew Speilman, of Harvard School of Public Health, which enabled him to obtain a scholarship for graduate studies in Holland and in Germany where he completed his DrPH.  He is now a professor at the University of Ghana School of Public Health.

As 2002 Democratic Candidate for the US House of Representatives, Selendy spoke out against going to war with Iraq and for universal health care.

Her inspiration: While fifteen and sixteen years of age, she traveled throughout the Middle East and spend nearly a year living with a missionary doctor and wife team in Tehran who exposed her to dire needs of impoverished families suffering from lack of adequate food, water, sanitation and hygiene.  These understandings inspired her desire to become a doctor.  During her early medical work at Tufts New England Medical Center she made a discovery about the localization of beta-glucuronidase in liver and kidney tissues while doing cancer research.  Then, as a research associate at Mt. Sinai Hospital School of Medicine in New York City, where she worked in diabetes and diabetes in pregnancy, she instigated and co-authored a paper on early induction of type 2 diabetics for the Journal of Diabetes. She was concurrently with her medical work, a pre-medical student followed by anthropology studies at Hunter College and Columbia University for which she received a BS and BA. After she received early acceptance to medical school, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, because of family circumstances she did not attend but, nevertheless, continued to pursue her research. She married Dr. Balazs Selendy, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mt Sinai, and had two children, Philippe and Bela, she raised as a single parent after her divorce when her children were 5 and 6 years of age.

Years subsequent to her medical research were dedicated to preventive medicine. She lectured on contamination of Lake Erie, organized county-wide cleanup campaigns and recycling efforts involving, among others, inmates of an institution for mentally retarded individuals in Appalachian Ohio. In the early 70s, she drafted bills on energy efficiency and energy conservation for the Senate of State of New York, fought to stop PSB contamination of the Hudson River, and to halt the contamination of the drinking water of Buffalo, NY, from tritium and strontium 90 that was leaking from the West Valley Nuclear Fuel Services as Assistant to the NY DEC Commissioner and Editor of the NY State Environment newspaper. Afterwards, she spent a year as Assistant to the President of the National Audubon Society before bring together a brain trust which included Bob Bendiner, a member of the Editorial Board of the NY Times, Ernest Brooks, Member of the National Audubon Society Board, Ambassador Ogden Reid, and Dave Sive, environmental lawyer, to found Horizon International.

She is a Fellow National of the Explorers Club ’96, and a member of the AAAS and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), among others.

Janine Selendy lives in North Salem, New York, with her partner of 15 years, Charles R. Dickey, retired lawyer and is now grandmother Janine Selendy lives in North Salem, New York, with her partner of 15 years, Charles R. Dickey, retired lawyer and is now grandmother of four grandchildren, Nicolas, Linnea, Max and Liam.


4 February 2018





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