Environmental & Public Health Leadership Stories

Aaron Maruzzo is bringing the skills he learned during his MPH back to his community in Saipan to “reduce pollution and improve environmental and human health through community-based action.” We interviewed Aaron on the unique professional and personal challenges and opportunities of working to improve environmental and human health at the intersection of two little-recognized acronyms: PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).Read more >
Globally, we generate $120 billion of agricultural waste every year. What farmers cannot sell, they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment. Takachar has developed a cheap, small-scale, portable technology that attaches to tractors in remote farms. The award-winning machine converts crop residues into sellable bio-products like fuel and fertilizer, and reduces smoke emissions by up to 98%.Read more >
Juan Reynoso is only the second person to have completed a new joint Master in Public Health (M.P.H.)/Master in Urban Planning (M.U.P.) degree program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The program allows students to pursue a transdisciplinary education in urban planning and public health and sharpen their understanding of key areas including policy, sustainability, and social determinants of health.Read more >
Universities, cities, and now even some countries are starting to phase out single-use plastics, but what will they switch to? Tons of disposable foodware, including products made from agricultural waste and labeled compostable, are used and discarded every day. Some of the products contain chemicals that are associated with adverse health effects such as hormone disruption, increased cholesterol levels, and increased risk of cancer. Ideally, we should phase out single-use plastics and encourage the development of alternatives that are manufactured with and contain inherently safer chemicals. How do we incentivize a transition to the best reusable products?Read more >
By providing a feminist history of the National School Lunch Program, Fellow Jennifer Gaddis recasts the humble school lunch as an important and often overlooked form of public care. Through vivid narration and moral heft, her new book, The Labor of Lunch, offers a stirring call to action and a blueprint for school lunch reforms capable of delivering a healthier, more equitable, caring, and sustainable future.Read more >
Is it possible to identify and stop a climate change disaster before it happens? Kimberley Rain Miner, a National Science Foundation Fellow and Department of Defense SMART Scholar, believes it might be with the proper predictions and preparations in a broad range of scenarios. With her dissertation...Read more >
“Climate change will increase the global burden of infectious diseases such as malaria, Zika and Lyme disease,” says 2017 Fellow Dev Vashishtha. “We are also seeing changes in pollen patterns and increases in asthma diagnoses. We know that the poor and people of color will be the hardest hit. My interest in climate change is closely tied to my interest in public health and disease prevention.”Read more >
2016 Fellow Kimberley Rain Miner is developing a framework to assess the threat of pesticides — including DDT — that for years have been trapped in glacial ice and now are entering watersheds as the glaciers melt. She seeks to quantify effects of pollutants downstream for her doctorate at the University of Maine.Read more >
Among her many accomplishments bridging her love of science and public service, Fellow Karen Levy's most recent is her selection as a fellow of the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute (LLI) for Public Engagement with Science. “The best way to maintain public support for science is for people to understand it,” Levy says, “to understand the underlying scientific process, to learn about exciting discoveries, and to understand how it affects their own lives.”Read more >
Dr. Asa Bradman is an environmental health scientist and expert in exposure assessment and epidemiology focusing on occupational and environmental exposures to pregnant women and children. He co-founded the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH) in the UC Berkeley School of...Read more >

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