Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

September 29, 2020 • 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET

Woman working at home during a Zoom conference call

The need for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic creates many difficult situations. Distance education is one such situation. Teachers who are trying to remotely engage students face an array of complexities.

In this webinar, we heard from three community engagement teams that have been adapting their hands-on classroom activities for the virtual classroom. The presenters discussed strategies and outcomes of their physically distant education efforts.



Cait Fallone, M.A.

Cait Fallone, M.A., is a medical anthropologist and Program Manager of the Community Engagement Core in the Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She has worked as a clinical research coordinator, informal science educator, and a Health and Sanitation coordinator for a global health non-profit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from St. John Fisher College, a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the State University of New York University at Buffalo and is currently a doctoral student in Human Development at the University of Rochester. Her research interests focus on behavioral medicine used as prevention and treatment of chronic disorders and how culture and environment impact health.

Lisa Hayward, Ph.D.

Lisa Hayward, Ph.D., is a manager of communications in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Washington (UW). She manages research translation for the UW Superfund Research Program and co-manages community engagement for the UW Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment. Prior to joining UW, she was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and managed communications for the Northwest Climate Science Center. She has a Ph.D. in Biology from UW and a bachelor’s degree in biology and English from Carleton College.

Dina Markowitz, Ph.D.

Dina Markowitz, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and is the founder and Director of the Life Sciences Learning Center, a hands-on science education center that offers a wide variety of programs for local middle and high school students and professional development programs for science teachers throughout the US. She is also the founder and President of Science Take-Out, a University of Rochester start-up company that creates and manufactures science kits. She received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Columbia University.

Kathleen M. Vandiver, MA.Ed., Ph.D.

Kathleen M. Vandiver, MA.Ed., Ph.D., is the Community Engagement Core Director for two NIEHS Centers at MIT: The Center for Environmental Health Sciences and the Superfund Research Program. Vandiver is an educator who taught middle school science for 16 years. She enjoys finding ways to simplify abstract concepts to make science more accessible. Working with the MIT Edgerton Center, she designed tactile models that communicate hard-to-teach molecular function as well as structure. These patented, hands-on models are now available as the MIT Edgerton Center DNA and Protein Sets. Vandiver was recognized for her contributions to science education with a lifetime achievement award from the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Immunology from Tufts University School of Medicine.

For More Information

Environmental Health Literacy
Descriptions for a model that utilizes bricks as atoms for teaching basic environmental health science can be found in Chapter 12 of Environmentally Health Literacy.

MIT Edgerton Center DNA/RNA and Protein Videos
This collection of videos is from the MIT Edgerton Center.

MIT Edgerton Center Molecule Set
This molecule set utilizes LEGO™ bricks as atoms for teaching basic environmental health science. The website tells you where to get the bricks and includes all the downloadable materials for instruction. Included in this set are lessons that help participants visualize the process of combustion and what air is made of. Additional climate change lessons include the-hard-to-explain-chemistry of ocean acidification.

MIT Edgerton Center K-12 Curriculum Materials
These are K-12 Curriculum teacher resources for DNA & Protein Sets, Molecule Set, and STEM Projects.

Online Vaping Escape Room (Digital Break-out)
This online escape room demonstrates the Harmful Effects of Vaping.

Online Vaping Exercise: A Case of Severe Lung Illness
This exercise is based on the real-life vaping experiences that inspired the “Case of Severe Lung Illness” case study.

Videos Created for Teacher Professional Development (PD) Workshops

These are videos of high school student video recorded with Kathleen Vandiver and Amanda Mayer teaching with the MIT K-12 Curriculum models. The series was edited to include key instructional moments and short pedagogical explanations. These videos can be a resource used to prepare oneself for online teaching.

We Want Your Feedback!

Send comments, questions, and suggestions for future webinar topics to [email protected].