Dr. Yasha Feferholtz
“As an environmental economist, I don’t assume markets work perfectly and know that there are a lot of failures in the market. Perhaps the most important failure is that many prices do not include the value of nature. We need to think in terms of value for humans, animals, and for the environment—what are the best options to increase that value?”
As EcoHealth Alliance’s resident economist, it is Dr. Yasha Feferholtz’s job to not only consider, but to conceptualize the economic impact of disease spread.
While the loss of human life is tragedy enough, the price tag of a single outbreak can sail into the billions of dollars. In an increasingly connected world, that can have a significant impact not only in the country where the outbreak began, but in that country’s neighbors, trading partners, and on a global scale. The efficient use of limited global resources is essential to fight diseases and maximize beneficial public health outcomes.
Dr. Feferholtz received his undergraduate education in his native Chile. He then attended the University of Wyoming as a Fullbright Scholar where he received a Ph.D. in Economics, specializing in environmental economics. He has been a member of the EcoHealth Alliance team for nearly two years.
Working with several teams at EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Feferholtz studies the connection between deforestation and disease spread, and their actual economic risks. His models can clearly illustrate how sustainable economic development and environmental conservation can not only improve human, wildlife, and planetary health, but they can also be fiscally beneficial to families, corporations, and governments. He also works with the Global Virome Project to make sure its mission of identifying the world’s unknown viruses is economically feasible.
His goal is to not only affect positive change with his work, but to change minds as well. Yasha believes that by using behavioral economics to explain how conservation can improve your physical and financial, well-being, he can facilitate and healthier and more prosperous world.