Environmental Impacts on Women’s Health Disparities and Reproductive Health
Wednesday & Thursday, April 27 – 28 | Virtual Workshop
- Michael Bloom, Ph.D.
- Carrie Breton, Sc.D.
- Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, Ph.D.
- Ebony B. Carter, M.D., M.P.H.
- Deborah Cory-Slechta, Ph.D.
- Regine Douthard, M.D., M.P.H.
- Julie Herbstman, Ph.D., Sc.M.
- Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D.
- Tamarra James-Todd, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Tanya Khemet Taiwo, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.M.
- Analia Loria, Ph.D.
- Tracy Manuck, M.D., M.S.C.I.
- Erica Marsh, M.D., M.S.C.I.
- NIEHS Scholars Connect Program (NSCP) 2021-2022 Student Presenters
- Karen Parker, Ph.D., M.S.W.
- Devon Payne-Sturges, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
- Yesibel Pimentel
- Janette Robinson Flint
- Checo J. Rorie, Ph.D.
- María Isabel Santana
- Elaine Symanski, Ph.D.
- Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega, Ph.D., M.S.W.
- Maeve Wallace, Ph.D., M.P.H
- Quincy L. Wise
- Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Ami Zota, Sc.D., M.S.
Michael Bloom, Ph.D.
George Mason University
Michael Bloom, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Global and Community Health at George Mason University, where he teaches graduate level epidemiology and environmental health. He completed a Ph.D. concentrating in environmental epidemiology at the University at Buffalo and postdoctoral training in reproductive epidemiology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. His research focuses on identifying and characterizing associations between environmental risk factors and human health outcomes in the U.S. and abroad, especially effects on human reproduction and fetal development, and disparate impacts among vulnerable populations. Bloom is the co-Principal Investigator (PI) of the Reproductive Development Study, a prospective investigation of birth outcomes and gestational exposure to environmental pollutants found in personal care products and plastics among a diverse population, and the co-PI of the Study of Metals and Assisted Reproductive Technologies, which investigates the effects of toxic trace elements on reproductive outcomes among diverse couples using in vitro fertilization. Bloom’s work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Fulbright Association.
Address: George Mason University
Department of Global and Community Health
4400 University Drive, MS 5B7
Fairfax, VA 22030
Carrie Breton, Sc.D.
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
Carrie Breton, Sc.D., is Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and is Director of the Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) Center for Environmental Health Disparities. She also co-directs the USC program site for the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) national NIH program. Breton’s work addresses the interplay between genetics, epigenetics, and susceptibility to environmental exposures such as air pollution and tobacco smoke on health outcomes in children. Her work in the MADRES Center examines whether pre- and postpartum environmental exposures, coupled with exposures to psychosocial and built environment stressors, affect maternal and child cardiometabolic health outcomes, including perturbed infant growth trajectories and increased childhood obesity risk. Her work in ECHO takes a multigenerational life course approach to studying the contribution of the environment to the developmental origins of childhood and emerging adult respiratory and metabolic health. She has conducted several other studies investigating how environmental exposures alter epigenetic profiles in newborns and young children, and what roles those changes play in underlying disease risk.
Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, Ph.D.
University of Toronto Scarborough
Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in environmental health at the University of Toronto in Canada. Her research focuses on the development of transdisciplinary community-based research projects to assess the impacts of environmental pollutants on health by combining information from multiple levels of biological organization. Caron-Beaudoin’s lab uses an innovative participatory approach combining toxicology, molecular biology, community-based research, exposure assessment, epidemiology, and environmental health. Caron-Beaudoin holds a Ph.D. in biology with a specialization in toxicology from the Institute national de la recherche scientifique (INRS; in English, National Institute of Scientific Research) Armand-Frappier Institute in Laval, Quebec. From 2018 to 2020, she was a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded postdoctoral fellow at the Université de Montreal. During her fellowship, Caron-Beaudoin investigated the associations between density and proximity to unconventional natural gas wells and birth outcomes in Northeastern British Columbia. She is currently leading a study on exposure to contaminants associated with unconventional natural gas wells during pregnancy.
Web Link: https://www.elysecaronbeaudoin.com/
Ebony B. Carter, M.D., M.P.H.
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Ebony Carter, M.D., M.P.H., is a tenured Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Clinical Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine. She practices Maternal Fetal Medicine and serves as Associate Editor for Equity at Obstetrics & Gynecology (the Green Journal). Her research focuses on group prenatal care, as a tool to promote health equity, and is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the American Diabetes Association.
Carter earned her undergraduate degree in human biology with honors from Stanford University, a Master of Public Health in health policy from the University of Michigan, and her medical degree from Duke University. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Harvard integrated program at Brigham and Women’s/Massachusetts General Hospitals and fellowship training in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.
Office Phone: 314-362-8895
Web Link: https://physicians.wustl.edu/people/ebony-boyce-carter-md-mph/
Deborah Cory-Slechta, Ph.D.
University of Rochester Medical School
Deborah Cory-Slechta, Ph.D., is a Professor of Environmental Medicine and former Dean for Research, Chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine, and PI of the NIEHS Core Center Grant at the University of Rochester Medical School. Her research includes both animal models and human studies focused on the consequences of developmental exposures to environmental chemicals on brain development and behavior and neurodegenerative diseases. One common theme of these studies has been a focus on cumulative risk assessment, including the development of animal models that better simulate human environmental conditions, and epidemiological studies that can better gauge interactions of environmental factors. These efforts have resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications. She has served on advisory panels of the NIH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and on the editorial boards of the journals Environmental Health Perspectives, Neurotoxicology, Toxicology, Toxicological Sciences, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, and Neurotoxicology and Teratology. She has also served on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board and the Board of Scientific Counselors, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry/CDC. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Neurotoxicologist Award from the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and in 2021 was awarded the Distinguished Toxicology Scholar Award from the Society of Toxicology.
Office Phone: 585-275-7060
Regine Douthard, M.D., M.P.H.
Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH
Regine Douthard, M.D., M.P.H., is Senior Medical Officer in the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and serves as an advisor to the ORWH Director and senior leadership on Women’s Health and Health Disparities, Environmental and Occupational Health, Global Health and Nutrition as they pertain to women’s health. She serves as ORWH liaison to several NIH-wide and HHS working groups including the NIH Maternal Mortality Taskforce, the Federal Interagency Partners-Federal Cervical Cancer Collaborative, the NIH-wide Climate Change and Health Working Group, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Maternal Health Agency Priority Goals Working Group. Before joining ORHW, Douthard served as Program Officer for the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Pediatric Clinical Trials Network in the NIH ECHO Program. Before joining the ECHO Program, she was a Medical Officer with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for the IDeA Program. Douthard has considerable international health program management experience working with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in collaboration with the CDC and helping to stand up the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean region.
Julie Herbstman, Ph.D., Sc.M.
Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
Julie Herbstman, Ph.D, is an environmental and molecular epidemiologist whose research area focuses on the effects of prenatal exposures to environmental pollutants and the molecular mechanisms underlying these associations. She is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and is the Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH). She has expertise in the design, conduct, and analysis of epidemiologic studies that include biomarker data and directs multiple longitudinal birth cohort studies of children born in New York City. She leads a number of NIH-funded research projects looking at early life to endocrine-disrupting compounds, which frequently elicit sex-specific effects, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), pyrethroid pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), phenols (including BPA) and phthalates, and their impact on child health and neurodevelopment as well as maternal health. She is also a Principal Investigator of a cohort grant within the NIH-funded nationwide Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) consortium.
Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D., completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Genetics & Molecular Biology at UNC-Chapel Hill where she defined mouse strain genetic diversity and studied its role in parent of origin effects. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 studying developmental epigenetics and the role of DNA regulatory elements in genomic imprinting. Her lab studies how gene-environment interactions in the fetal/developmental environment modulate the epigenome to program the trajectory of health & disease. Her lab’s work has been instrumental in showing that early life exposure defines germ and somatic cell epigenetic profiles into adulthood. More importantly, they show this effect is substantially modulated by parental genotype. This work supports the key tenets of Developmental Origins of health and Disease (DOHaD) while highlighting the importance of considering the role of early exposures in Precision Medicine. Her research is supported by NIH grants through NIEHS and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Her other roles include: Co-director - Developmental Disease group, UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility; Council member, U.S. DOHaD Society; Board of Directors, Genetics Society of America; and Primary Investigator, UNC training program, Educational Pathways to increase Diversity in Genomics.
Web Link: https://www.med.unc.edu/genetics/directory/folami-ideraabdullah-phd/
Tamarra James-Todd, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
Tamarra James-Todd, Ph.D., is an environmental reproductive epidemiologist researching environmental chemicals on women’s cardiometabolic health across the reproductive life course. A past Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 Scholar, she directs the Environmental Reproductive Justice (ERJ) Lab, which investigates and improves adverse environmental exposure and reproductive health disparities. Her work particularly focuses on the importance of pregnancy as a sensitive window of environmental chemical exposures. She is the Principal Investigator of two NIEHS funded R01 grants, focusing on endocrine disrupting chemicals and adverse maternal health outcomes during pregnancy, postpartum, and mid-life in the Environmental Reproductive and Glucose Outcomes (ERGO) study and Project Viva. She serves as the Principal Investigator for the Community Engagement Core of the Metals and Metal Mixtures: Cognitive Aging, Remediation, and Exposure Sources (MEMCARE) P42 Superfund Research Center. In addition, she runs interventions to improve environmental health literacy in the lay community, as well as among health care professionals. She is also the Director of the Organics Core for the Harvard Chan NIEHS Center, where she launched the Environmental Justice Bootcamp in collaboration with two other NIEHS-funded P30 Centers. She has had the honor of serving on two National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees and the March of Dimes Environmental Justice Working Group.
(please CC Marlee Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tanya Khemet Taiwo, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.M.
University of California Davis, Environmental Health Sciences Center
Tanya Khemet Taiwo, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.P.M., is an assistant professor in the Department of Midwifery and Director of the Master of Arts in Maternal-Child Health Systems program. She also provides midwifery care on a part-time basis at CommuniCare Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Health Center with clinics in urban and rural communities around the Sacramento area. These clinics are committed to the compassionate care of low-income families in a multidisciplinary setting. Taiwo comes from a family tradition of midwives, stretching back at least three generations. Her grandmother and her maternal aunts were midwives practicing in rural Jamaica. She apprenticed with midwives in Seattle, Senegal, and Jamaica.
Taiwo is an epidemiologist whose research examines the role of maternal prenatal stress on child neurodevelopment, and how these stressors interact with environmental exposures. Her concern for environmental exposures affecting pregnant women drives her as co-director of the Community Engagement Core at the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center. She is also a research fellow at The Birth Place Lab at the University of British Columbia. At the Birth Place Lab, she is collaborating on the Giving Voice to Mothers Study, a community-based participatory research project that examines how race, ethnicity, and birthplace affect maternity care in the United States.
Analia Loria, Ph.D.
Analia S. Loria, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and her Ph.D. at the University of Murcia (Spain), completing her postdoctoral training at the Medical College of Georgia (USA). Loria has a strong background in cardiovascular physiology, biochemistry, and vascular biology of vasoactive peptides. Using mouse and rat models, she investigates the effects of early life stress on cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes. Her postdoctoral work was supported by an American Heart Association Fellowship early on. She was subsequently awarded a K99 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute focused on the influence of early life stress on renal and vascular function. Since joining the University of Kentucky, Loria has established a laboratory highly focused on the study of cardiovascular function in obesity settings, including the measurement of acute and chronic blood pressure, assessment of vascular function ex vivo, and adipose tissue biology. Loria’s active research program is investigating the sex-specific mechanisms underlying the increased cardiometabolic risk associated with early life stress.
Phone: 859-218-1414, Lab: 859-218-1395
Web Link: https://pharmns.med.uky.edu/users/alo243
Tracy Manuck, M.D., M.S.C.I.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Tracy Manuck, M.D., M.S.C.I.,is a tenured Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Director of the Prematurity Prevention Program at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Perinatal Section Head of the Institute for Environmental Health Solutions. She completed her Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at University of Utah. She is a two-time award winner of the National March of Dimes award for “Best Research in Prematurity” and served on multiple Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine committees and task forces. She is Chair of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Research Committee and member of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee for Clinical Obstetrics. Her clinical expertise includes preterm labor, cervical insufficiency, preterm premature rupture of membranes, and preeclampsia. She specializes in providing care for women at highest risk for preterm birth, including those with multiple previous preterm deliveries and those before fetal viability. She investigates health disparities in preterm birth and perinatal outcomes, including the impact of environmental exposures. She received national awards and is involved with the research education of medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty.
Manuck seeks to provide personalized solutions to identify, quantify, and reduce preterm birth risk factors and health disparities lowering risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Her NIH grant awards including R01 (R01-MD011609) and K24 (K24-ES031131), and North Carolina grant research collaborations, focus on improving the prediction of which women will deliver preterm, evaluate maternal and fetal genetics, epigenetics, and environmental exposures to predict which women will have favorable pregnancy outcomes despite high risks for maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Funding from the UNC Medical Foundation supports providing solutions to the complex and pervasive problem of preterm birth.
Address: 3010 Old Clinic Building, CB#7516
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Web Link: www.manuckresearch.org
Erica Marsh, M.D., M.S.C.I.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan
Erica Marsh, M.D., M.S.C.I., is the S. Jan Behrman Collegiate Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Chief of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN), Associate Director of the Michigan Institute of Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), and Founder and Director of the Health and Reproductive Disparities (onWHARD!) Collaborative. She graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude, and Harvard Medical School, cum laude. She completed her residency at the Integrated OBGYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital, and a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility fellowship at Feinberg School of Medicine before joining the faculty. In 2016, Marsh joined the University of Michigan.
Marsh’s research is published in the area of fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, patient perspectives and health disparities in reproductive health. Her work is funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. Her research interest is Comparative Reproductive Health across populations to understand the challenges of reproductive disorders through a translational lens. She received the Ira and Esther Rosenwaks New Investigator Award from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation. She founded and directed the Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program and Black Faculty Association at Michigan Medicine. She was Director to the Cook County Board of Health and Hospital Services. Her awards include Chicago Urban League STEM Innovator, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation Physician Community Service Excellence, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award. She is the 2012 Community Health Volunteer Specialist of the Year.
NIEHS Scholars Connect Program (NSCP) 2021-2022 Student Presenters
Office of Science Education & Diversity, Office of the Director, NIEHS
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Junior/Biostatistics, Asian Studies-Chinese
Research Mentor: John House, Ph.D.
Research PI: Alison Motsinger-Reif, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Junior/Environmental Public Policy/Environmental Justice/Data Science
Research Mentor: Christine Parks, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
Research PI: Dale Sandler, Ph.D.
North Carolina A&T University
Research Mentor: Linda Yu, M.D.
Research PI: Darlene Dixon, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Best Presentation: Spring Connection Presentation
North Carolina A&T University
Research Mentor: Cassandra Hayne, Ph.D.
Research PI: Robin Stanley, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Outstanding Scholar 2022
Major: Junior/Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Ayland Letsinger, Ph.D.
Research PI: Jerrel Yakel, Ph.D.
Best Presentation: Summer Connection Presentation
Honorable Mention: Fall Connection Presentation
Honorable Mention: Spring Connection Presentation
Karen Parker, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office, NIH
Karen L. Parker, Ph.D., M.S.W., currently serves as Director of the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Parker was instrumental in the formation of the office in the fall of 2015 and was appointed Director in June 2016. In her role as Director, Parker is co-chair of the trans-NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Coordinating Committee (RCC), a committee on which she has served since its inception in 2011, and co-chair of the NIH SGM Research Working Group of the Council of Councils. Parker is also a member of the NIH Anti-Harassment Steering Committee and serves as the co-chair of the NIH Office of the Director Anti-Harassment Champions Working Group. Additionally, she sits as an ad-hoc member on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director Working Group on Diversity. Parker is involved in several SGM-related initiatives beyond NIH. She serves as co-chair of the Measuring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Research Group, an entity of the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, as well as co-chair for the Department of Health and Human Services LGBT Coordinating Committee. Parker began her NIH career in 2001 as a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She spent several years at NCI, serving in various roles in the Office of the Director. Parker received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Indiana University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she studied community organization, social policy, and evaluation. She subsequently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work.
Web Link: https://dpcpsi.nih.gov/sgmro/sgmrodirectorbio
Devon Payne-Sturges, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
University of Maryland School of Public Health
Devon Payne-Sturges, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty at the UMD, Payne-Sturges served as Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Health with the Baltimore City Health Department, and later as the Assistant Center Director for Human Health with U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research where she focused on biomonitoring for policy analysis, cumulative risk assessment, health impact assessment, environmental health indicator development, children’s environmental health, and environmental health of minority populations. She has worked with numerous stakeholders, including relevant state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations in the fields of environmental and occupational health. Her research focuses on racial and economic disparities in exposures to environmental contaminants and associated health risks with the aim of improving the science used in environmental policy decision-making. She is currently conducting research applying systems modeling to better understand the links between structural racism and cumulative environmental exposures under a K01 award from NIEHS. Payne-Sturges earned her M.P.H and Doctor of Public Health degrees in environmental health sciences from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Office Phone: 301-405-2025
Web Link: https://sph.umd.edu/people/devon-payne-sturges
Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
Yesibel Pimentel recently graduated with an Associate in Science degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College and will be attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice to pursue a degree in forensic psychology this fall. She is passionate about promoting environmental health and justice and strengthening scientific understanding for the community. As a current Environmental Health and Justice (EHJ) Advocates intern, Ms. Pimentel collaborated with leading environmental justice organizations to plan a youth-led session for a conference to reduce the disparate exposures of black women to toxins in personal care products and makeup. She co-facilitated a workshop for middle school students on lead exposure, addressing prevention, rights, and regulations, and is also developing the first EHJ Advocates Newsletter with CCCEH community partners and their youth membership. The goal is to elevate youth voices on environmental health and justice issues.
Janette Robinson Flint
Black Women for Wellness, Los Angeles
Janette Robinson Flint is the Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness, a woman-centered community-based organization working on reproductive justice issues as they impact Black women & girls. Ms. Robinson Flint is also part of the Los Angeles Coalition for Reproductive Justice, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, and In Our Own Voice; National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, with the intention of lifting the experiences and voices of Black women in pursuit of health and well-being.
Her work in the health field began as an advocate during her own pregnancy, while seeking a holistic practitioner to work with her concept of a gentle birth. It gives her great pleasure to imagine a world with powerful women, in optimum physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and financial health leading us to justice and peace.
Over the course of the years, her journey has included The Birthing Project USA, Great Beginnings for Black Babies, National Health Foundation, March of Dimes, California Primary Care Association, Inglewood Healthy Mothers & Babies, South Los Angeles Health Project, and Women, Infants and Children (South Los Angeles advisory board) Programs as well as a member of the community faculty at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Checo J. Rorie, Ph.D.
North Carolina A&T State University
Checo J. Rorie, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Rorie is originally from Marshville, NC, and graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1994. He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, where he graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Curriculum in Toxicology Ph.D. program and graduated in 2004. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University from 2004 to2005 in Biochemistry and then did a second postdoctoral fellowship as a SPIRE (Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education) Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill in Radiation Oncology from 2005 to2008. In 2008, he joined the Biology Department at North Carolina A&T State University as an Adjunct Professor, and in 2010 accepted a tenure track position in Genetics. He has a Breast Cancer Research lab focused on breast cancer health disparities in African American women. He is also the principal investigator and director of the NIH/NIGMS funded Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC USTAR) grant that funds undergraduates in biomedical research. Rorie is a councilor on the executive board of the NC Society of Toxicology, and he is also the Partnership Chair on the Board of Science Communicators of North Carolina.
Office Phone: 336-285-2160
Web Link: https://www.ncat.edu/cost/departments/biology/index.php
María Isabel Santana
María Isabel Santana is an elementary school educator in Puerto Rico with 33 years of experience teaching primary level Spanish. In addition to helping second graders learn how to read and write, she tutors adults from disadvantaged communities. Since 2017, Santana has been a member of the community advisory board for Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT), part of Northeastern University’s Superfund Research Program. The PROTECT team first met Santana when she contacted the program for assistance during post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. In response, the team delivered a water system and other equipment to her school. Santana also volunteers with a community organization called “Se Pide y Se Regala con Respeto” (We Ask and Give with Respect), which donates clothes and goods to those in need. Outside of work and community service, Santana is an artist registered with the Puerto Rico Department of Cultural Affairs. She creates sculptures from Puerto Rican wood and other natural materials, and paints hats and sneakers by hand.
Office Phone: 787-579-5182
Elaine Symanski, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
Elaine Symanski, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Center for Precision Environmental Health and Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where she directs the Program in Population and Environmental Health Disparities. She earned her M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With training in environmental sciences and epidemiology, Symanski’s expertise is in evaluating environmental health risks in over-burdened populations. She is Director of a NIMHD/NIEHS/NICHD P50 Center of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research, the Maternal and Infant Environmental Health Riskscape (MIEHR) Center, which is focused on elucidating the role of myriad factors in the built, social, and physical environments that contribute to disparities in adverse outcomes among pregnant women and their children. Symanski also serves as Deputy Director of a NIEHS P30 Environmental Health Sciences Core Center, the Gulf Coast Center for Precision Environmental Health. She recently participated in SARS CoV-2 seroprevalence investigations with the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health. Symanski is currently serving as a sub-group co-chair of an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Working Group, Cobalt metal (without tungsten carbide or other metal alloys) and cobalt (II) salts; Trivalent and pentavalent antimony; and Weapons-grade tungsten (with nickel and cobalt) alloy, volume 131. Symanski is also co-directing in Spring 2022 the inaugural offering of a medical school course entitled: Environmental Health: What Every Physician Should Know.
Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega, Ph.D., M.S.W.
University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega, Ph.D., M.S.W., is a Tenured Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. She is active in research on social determinants of maternal and child environmental health and community engagement. She is the Principal Investigator of the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) project, the Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico (CRECE), the international cohort study Zika in Pregnancy and Infant (ZIP), and the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes in Puerto Rico (ECHO-PRO). These projects include a community outreach component that is under the direction of Vélez Vega. She is also the principal investigator of the Community Outreach Component of the Center for Collaborative Research on Health Disparities of the Medical Sciences Campus.
Vélez Vega completed her Ph.D. in Research and Administration of Social Policies from the Graduate School of Social Work, Rio Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, and also completed a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Florida State University. She has extensive experience in community engagement activities and is a member of the Puerto Rican Taskforce on Premature Births. Carmen Vélez Vega is the 2019 recipient of the American Public Health Association (APHA) Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award for her work toward social justice for the disadvantaged and underserved women and children in Puerto Rico. Vélez Vega is presently a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC).
Maeve Wallace, Ph.D., M.P.H
Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Maeve Wallace, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a reproductive epidemiologist. Her research interests focus on the social, structural, and policy determinants of maternal and child health and health inequities including structural racism, violence, health policy, and human rights. Her current work seeks to understand the reasons underlying persistent racial inequities in maternal and infant mortality in New Orleans, across the state of Louisiana, and nationwide. She is Associate Director of the Mary Amelia Center for Women's Health Equity Research and is actively involved in collaboration with local and national community-based organizations and governmental agencies on efforts to improve maternal and child health and advance health equity.
Office Phone: 504-988-7305
Web Link: https://sph.tulane.edu/sbps/maeve-wallace
Quincy L. Wise
Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
Quincy L. Wise is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology and a minor in English from the City College of New York. This fall, he will be pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. He is passionate about empowering others to meet their highest potential and providing a platform to share the experiences of those underrepresented and typically left unheard. He has urged his peers to take on new challenges and pursued partnership opportunities for the EHJ Advocates youth council. As a past EHJ Advocates intern, Mr. Wise worked as facilitator for the Center’s annual college preparation workshops, co-facilitated focus groups for the Center’s Community EHJ Needs Assessment, and maintained a web and social media presence for the youth council. He is a member of the Center’s Community Advisory and Stakeholder Board representing youth perspectives.
Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., M.P.H.
University of California, San Francisco
Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Director of and Alison S. Carlson Endowed Professor for the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment and is a Professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. She is also the Director of a newly awarded NIEHS Environmental Health Core Center grant, the Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center at UCSF. She is a recognized expert on environmental pollution exposures and impacts on health, with a focus on pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, and is known for her innovations in translating and communicating scientific findings for clinical and policy audiences. She has authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters and has been quoted widely in the press, including USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. Before joining UCSF, Woodruff was a senior scientist and policy advisor for the U.S. EPA’s Office of Policy. She was appointed by the governor of California in 2012 to the Science Advisory Board of the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DARTIC) Identification Committee.
Web Link: https://prhe.ucsf.edu/contact-us
Ami Zota, Sc.D., M.S.
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
Ami Zota, Sc.D., M.S., is an associate professor at the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and an incoming associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (starting June 2022). Her work seeks to secure environmental justice and improve health equity through science, advocacy, communication, and training next generation scientists. Her current research examines how social-structural factors, such as racism, classism, and sexism, shape beauty product use, environmental chemical exposures, and health inequities in women across the life course. Zota is equally committed to science communication. Her work has been featured in high-impact media publications including the Washington Post, USA Today, and The Atlantic, and has helped shape health and safety standards for consumer product chemicals. Zota is also active in multiple efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scientific enterprise. She is the founder and director of the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice, a nationwide program that empowers emerging leaders from historically excluded backgrounds in science and academia to reimagine solutions for a just and healthy planet. In 2017, Zota was recognized as a Pioneer under 40 in Environmental Public Health by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.