In Russia, more than 400,000 people die each year from cardiovascular-related diseases and the number is only expected to grow. Using demographic research methods and models, Natalia Milovantseva, a recent graduate of UC Irvine's Demographic and Social Analysis master's program, estimates that nearly 5% of deaths by the year 2025 could be avoided if Russia steps up its environmental standards.  
"A poor environment can lead to a number of cardiovascular related health problems resulting in death at a younger age," she says. "In Russia, if laws for air, water and environmental quality continue to go unenforced, the cost will be measured in lives lost rather in those which could have been saved."  
A Russian native, Milovantseva received the 2008 Southern California Edison Award for Research on Energy and the Environment in recognition of her study. The $1,000 award will help fund her next research venture as she moves on to the School of Social Ecology's environmental analysis and design doctoral program this fall.

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