Break the Cycle of Children's environmental health disparities
focuses on raising awareness of

children's health disparities
and on cultivating future leaders among university students
nationally and internationally 
.

Past conference monographs and presentations are available here.

BREAK THE CYCLE OF
CHILDREN'S ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DISPARITIES

17th ANNUAL VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
APRIL 18 + 19 2022

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BTC 17 THEME: Climate Change

This year our theme is Climate Change and its disproportionate impact on children, particularly children living in communities already burdened by inequitable exposure to environmental hazards, structural racism, and other forms of injustice.

A Program of

Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc. and

Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at Emory University.

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Felix Finch Bar Mitzvah info 

email with questions: contact@breakthecycleprogram.org

Quick links to conference information:

 

DAY 1 Keynote Speakers

Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, PhD
Chair and Professor,
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health School of Public Health

Adjunct Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University

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Topic:
Disparities in Access to Safe Drinking Water in the United States

Dr. Gibson’s research addresses the science of environmental risk assessment and decision-making.  Much of her research has arisen from questions raised by policymakers and communities, building on 13 years of experience in public policy prior to embarking on an academic career.  She served for nine years at the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board, where she was promoted to Associate Director. She also was a Senior Engineer and liaison to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy at The RAND Corp., a nonprofit public policy think tank.  Research questions have spanned from understanding the impacts of water pollution on health in local U.S. communities to characterizing the environmental burden of disease across multiple pathways for the United Arab Emirates.  Her recent research has focused on uncovering the health impacts of disparities in access to clean drinking water in the United States.

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Julie B. Herbstman, PhD, ScM

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Director, Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health

Co-Director, Certificate Program in Molecular Epidemiology

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health 

Topic:
Using Data from an Urban Longitudinal Birth Cohort to Break the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities

Julie B. Herbstman is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and director of the Certificate Program in Molecular Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her recent research involves the integration of epigenetic biomarkers to explore the mechanistic pathway between prenatal exposures and disease risk. In addition, she has addressed the impact of prenatal exposures to environmental pollutants, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on child growth and development. She has also been involved in research exploring the long-term environmental health impact of exposure to pollutants from the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Dr. Herbstman received a PhD in environmental epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University.

 

Program Faculty

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Leslie Rubin MD

Leslie Rubin MD is Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Morehouse
School of Medicine, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the
Emory University School of Medicine, Director, Break the Cycle Program, Southeast
Pediatric Environmental Health Unit at Emory University, President and Founder of
Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc. and Medical Director of The Rubin Center for
Autism and Developmental Pediatrics, in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2004, he started an annual program Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental
Health Disparities, to raise awareness of environmental health disparities among
university students and to cultivate future leaders to address these challenges and
founded the non-profit Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc. To date, there have
been 16 annual programs with over 150 student papers and 13 books in a Public Health
Series with Nova Publishers. The program received The Children’s Environmental Health
Excellence Award from the US EPA in 2016.
His personal mission is to work in collaboration with others on reducing children’s health
disparities and promote health equity for all children, locally and globally in the context of
environmental and social justice, and in the face climate change.

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Frederick Thompson

Frederick (Fred) Thompson is the Acting Deputy Regional Administrator for the United States  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. In this capacity, he  provides leadership on the implementation and direction of Region 4 programs in the southeast.  Fred has over 30 years of managerial, leadership and technical experience at EPA. Prior to  assuming the Acting Deputy Regional Administrator position, he was the Associate Office  Director of the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS). In this position, he  created and led the organization’s workforce and succession planning programs, managed  activities involving employee development and workforce engagement and established initiatives  to support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. He has served in various senior  management positions within OAQPS, including Director of the Outreach and Information  Division and Associate Director of the Sector Policies and Programs Division, where he oversaw  multiple Clean Air Act programs and provided policy and technical guidance to the 10 regional  offices, state and local agencies, tribes, and industry. He is no stranger to EPA Region 4 where  he previously served as the Senior Advisor to the Regional and Deputy Regional Administrators and as the Senior Advisor to the Water Protection Division Director. Before joining EPA, Fred  worked as a senior manager in the aerospace industry.

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Linda Hansen, MD, MPH

Dr. Linda Hansen received her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch
School of Medicine and completed her fellowship in Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. For nearly 25 years, she worked as a clinical endocrinologist in academia and large multispecialty organizations. Recognizing the growing evidence for adverse health effects from exposure to endocrine disrupting substances in the environment, Dr. Hansen completed a Master of Public Health with concentrations in Environmental Health and Epidemiology at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions. She completed the first children’s environmental health assessment for the DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton, Illinois which launched the county’s Children’s Environmental Health Initiative in 2019. Her work on the initiative included educating primary care providers on associations of environmental exposures and adverse childhood health outcomes.


Dr. Hansen joined the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2020, and serves as Chief for the Environmental Medicine and Health Systems Intervention Section (EMHSIS) in the Office of Capacity Development and Applied Prevention Science (OCDAPS). Her work in EMHSIS involves leading the development of environmental medicine educational materials for primary care clinicians; supervising medical toxicology fellows in their public health activities at ATSDR; providing direction for the Morehouse School of Medicine Public Health and Preventive Medicine residency rotation at ATSDR; and developing other section initiatives. Dr. Hansen also manages ATSDR’s cooperative agreement that funds the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs), and provides strategic direction and technical support for the PEHSUs.

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Abby Mutic PhD, CNM

Dr. Abby Mutic PhD, CNM is an Assistant Professor in Research at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, a Certified Nurse Midwife, and the Director of the Region 4 Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (SE PEHSU). Her expertise is in environmental exposures and health among reproductive women and children with a research focus on community engagement, exposure assessment, environmental aeroallergens, and asthma disparities. She is actively involved with area Maternal Child Health agencies, educators, healthcare providers and health advocates to identify and reduce environmental exposures, enhance environmental health literacy, and promote environmental justice. She maintains her clinical practice in OB/GYN and Teen clinics at Grady Health System and Emory Healthcare.

Mentor Bios

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Rebecca Fry, PhD

Rebecca Fry, PhD is the Director of the Institute for Environmental Health Solutions and The Carol Remmer Angle Distinguished Professor in Children’s Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her lab focuses on understanding how environmental exposures to toxic substances are associated with human disease. With a particular focus on genomic and epigenomic perturbations, her labs use toxicogenomic and systems biology approaches to identify key molecular pathways that associate environmental exposure with diseases. A current focus in the lab is to study prenatal exposure to various environmental contaminants including arsenic, cadmium, and perflourinated chemicals. Dr. Fry aims to understand molecular mechanisms by which such early exposures are associated with long-term health effects in humans. Ultimately, Dr. Fry’s lab aims to identify mechanisms of contaminant-induced disease and the basis for inter-individual disease susceptibility.

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Erik S. Coker, MS, Ph.D.

Eric S. Coker, MS, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and
Global Health. He received a B.S. in Environmental Health Science from the University of
Washington, an MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Exposure Science from the
University of Washington, an MS in Global Health Sciences from the University of California,
San Francisco, and a Ph.D. in Public Health from Oregon State University. Dr. Coker has
worked as an Environmental Epidemiologist at the New Mexico Department of Health, and a
Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in Global Health and Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology.
Dr. Coker’s research interests are at the intersection of social determinants of health, population susceptibility, and environmental chemical exposures, and investigating how these factors combine to cause health effects and drive health disparities in maternal and child health. He is particularly interested in studying populations in urban environments; where numerous social and health inequalities coexist and where people are simultaneously exposed to multiple environmental stressors throughout the life-course. Dr. Coker brings together his expertise in epidemiology, environmental health and exposure science, advanced biostatistical methods, and spatial and field epidemiology to pursue environmental epidemiology studies domestically in the U.S. and internationally (e.g., East Africa). His research has focused on the health and developmental effects from prenatal exposure to air pollution mixtures and chemical pesticide mixtures, as well as joint exposure to the built environment, social deprivation, and air pollution.

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Kelly L'Engle, Ph.D., MPH

Kelly L’Engle, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor and Director, MPH-Behavioral Health Concentration at the University of San Francisco, California. Kelly is a Health Behavior and Communications Scientist. She develops innovative programs and conducts research to promote positive health, especially among young people and vulnerable populations. Kelly directs the MPH-Behavioral Health Program at the University of San Francisco and teaches classes in health and risk communication, adolescent health, and mixed-methods research. 

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Lesa R. Walker, MD, MPH

Lesa R. Walker, MD, MPH is a medical consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund and is the mentor for Eric Balaban, MD in the BTC program.  She is a public health physician from Austin, Texas with 30+ years of experience in designing healthcare service systems at the local, state, and national levels.  She obtained her MD from Baylor College of Medicine and MPH from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas.  She was the past Medical Director/Texas Title V (HHS Maternal and Child Health Block Grant) Director for the Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program at the Texas Department of State Health Services.  She is a Climate Reality Leader, ecoAmerica Climate for Health Ambassador, and Climate and Health Advocate with The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.  Currently, as medical consultant with the Environmental Defense Fund, she builds collaborations with health and environmental organizations, mentors Dr. Eric Balaban in his Climate and Health Policy Fellowship with the  University of Colorado School of Medicine, coordinates healthcare provider continuing education with the University of New Mexico Project ECHO Climate Change and Human Health ECHO webinar series, supports environmental justice community activism and community-led grassroots science in Houston, Texas, and coordinates the University of Texas- Dell Medical School Environmental Activism Writing Project in Austin, Texas. 

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Marissa Hauptman, MD, MPH

Marissa Hauptman, MD, MPH is a board certified pediatrician and Associate Director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Center, Associate Director of the Boston Children's Hospital Pediatric and Reproductive Environmental Health Fellowship Program and the Region 1 New England Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hauptman’s research focuses on systematically integrating information about environmental exposures through spatial analysis techniques and biologic markers to improve environmental and social health disparities in children with chronic diseases. She recently was awarded an NIH/NIEHS K23 Career Development Award entitled, Air Pollution, Stress and Asthma Morbidity Risk: Role of Biological and Geospatial Markers."

Dr. Hauptman’s research focuses on using spatial analysis techniques to research and improve environmental and social health disparities in urban children. Dr. Hauptman is currently engaged in a research project evaluating the impact of spatial and environmental exposures on asthma morbidity as part of the NIH funded School- Inner City Asthma Study, led by principal investigator, Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul.  She has been awarded the 2015 Academic Pediatric Association Research Award for Best Abstract by a Fellow for her research abstract entitled “Residential and School Proximity To Major Roadways and Asthma Morbidity in the School Inner-City Asthma Study” that was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting in 2015.She has also been awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology Outstanding Abstract Award at the 2016 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting, which recognized significant research efforts in the field of asthma, allergy or immunology in children.

 

BTC 17 Student Projects

Margaret Pinder

Socioeconomic Disadvantage at Birth and Later Life Behavioral Outcomes Among Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns

Mentor: Rebecca Fry

Institution: University of North Carolina

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The goal of my project is to determine if changes in a child’s socioeconomic status are associated with differential neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes at age 15. The Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn (ELGAN) study collected data from over one thousand infants from fourteen hospitals who were born at 28 weeks’ gestation or earlier. Follow-up studies were conducted when these individuals were two, ten, and fifteen years old, and among the data collected were social and environmental variables, including the following four that have been used to assess the mother’s socioeconomic disadvantage in previous studies: less than college education, single marital status, public health insurance, and food and nutritional service assistance. I plan to stratify the data into three categories according to whether there was no change, positive change, or negative change across the socioeconomic determinants between birth and age fifteen. Then, I will determine if a significant relationship exists between changes in socioeconomic status and cognitive and behavioral outcomes, such as academic outcomes, mental illness, and other impairments possibly impacting overall quality of life. A strength of the ELGAN study is that placentas were collected and frozen at birth, allowing for later study of inflammation proteins, as well as DNA methylation. These biomarkers indicate the presence of systematic inflammation in the intrauterine environment, potentially as a result of environmental contaminants. This project has the potential to “break the cycle” by studying how modifiable social and environmental variables are associated with improved children’s health outcomes.  

Redlining and environmental justice: identifying the roots of child health vulnerabilities to climate change

Mentor: Eric Coker

Institution: University of Florida

Devon Nenon

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Children’s health disparities, such as higher incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight, are tied to environmental factors including higher temperatures and particulate matter air pollution. Both of these risk factors are anticipated to be impacted by climate change, and the impacts are expected to disproportionately affect minority racial groups. In this project, we propose to address these disparities by identifying areas in Florida and Georgia with that have high populations of children or women of childbearing age who face disproportionate cumulative environmental vulnerabilities in the context of climate change and residential segregation. This will be conducted through spatial analysis of environmental factors such as temperature, air pollution, humidity between redlined and non-redlined communities. Next, regions with high concentrations of children and women of childbearing age will be identified to focus in on areas of greatest vulnerability. This study provides a criterion that can be used to identify high-risk communities that should be prioritized for health mitigation efforts and provides valuable insight on the structural roots of environmental health disparities through correlating these disparities with the historical practice of redlining. Without consideration of structural racism and its role in current and future climate impacts, historically marginalized communities—of which children are perhaps the most vulnerable and marginalized—disparities in climate mitigation will continue to reify the structural roots of cumulative risk factors and childhood health disparities.

Personal Exposure Report Back: Knowledge as a way to end Environmental Health Disparities

Mentor: Julie Herbstman

Institution: Columbia University

Kylie Riley

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We will be evaluating the return of personal air monitoring results within a birth cohort to determine if the information increases health literacy and which factors are associated with increased literacy. We will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods on data collected via focus groups and surveys. This study matters because if our hypothesis is true, and health literacy is increased, returning results is a resource that other cohort studies could employ to engage, give back, and increase knowledge within their population. Increased knowledge and health literacy is empowering to make positive changes that reduce risk of environmental exposures for mothers and children, thus breaking the cycle of environmental health disparities.

Alexis Nutkiewicz, Gwen Anderson, Aminah Habib, Miguel Duenas, Lorely Ruiz

The Effect of Activism on Eco-Anxiety in Adolescents

Mentor: Kelly L’Engle

Institution: University of San Francisco

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Our project focuses on the impact of climate advocacy and activism on symptoms of eco-anxiety in adolescents (ages 16 to 19). We will conduct a literature review for pre-existing data on eco-anxiety and how climate advocacy and activism may affect mental health outcomes in adolescents exposed to natural disasters and climate change. For our primary data collection, we will conduct an online Qualtrics survey of adolescents in Northern California to assess their thoughts on climate change and youth activism. We will conduct focus groups with youth involved in climate activism and youth not involved in climate activism. This will allow us to understand how activism may interact with mental health and overall thoughts about the actions that youth can take to address climate change and its impact on their generation. This topic has garnered limited research because eco-anxiety is a relatively new concept in the mental health and climate activism communities. The little research available regarding eco-anxiety highlights young people as a particularly vulnerable group. Additionally, many communities in Northern California have experienced climate-related consequences like drought and wildfires.

Factors and Inequities of Lead (Pb) Exposure in U.S. Children
Mentor: Jacqueline McDonald Gibson
Institution: Indiana University

Michelle Del Rio

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My project will consist of a systematic literature review of prior research on models of U.S. child Pb exposure that could then be used to conceptualize a socioecological model for childhood Pb poisoning. My review will focus on the risk and protective factors (social, economic, and environmental factors) of childhood Pb poisoning for U.S. children. The findings from this project could improve risk assessment methods and health interventions in the U.S. The socioecological model, when completed, could then also help understand a child’s Pb exposome, which then can help identify children at highest risk to Pb exposure, help to design early intervention strategies, and leverage more effectively the limited resources available to address childhood Pb poisoning. The proposed project is a step closer to understanding and addressing the health inequities that children in the U.S. experience related to childhood Pb poisoning and a step closer to informing policies that prioritize children’s health “breaking the cycle” of childhood Pb poisoning.

Alyson Alde

Water Infrastructure to Improve Childhood Health and Decrease Childhood Lead Exposure

Mentor: Jacqeline McDonald Gibson

Institution: Indiana University

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Alyson’s research examines blood lead levels in children who get their drinking water from private wells. Because early childhood lead exposure can cause irreversible cognitive deficits and behavioral issues that impact a child’s academic life, and private wells are not regulated to ensure safety, Alyson seeks to explore a causal relationship between blood lead concentration and well water lead concentration. To determine causality, this project collects tap water samples, household dust samples, and blood samples from the children who live in the home. Since children of color and childing living in poverty are at a greater risk for lead exposure through their drinking water, this project aims to draw attention to the inequitable access to lead-free water in order to implement solutions to eliminate lead exposure via drinking water. Considering the irreversible deficits lead exposure inflicts on children, the inequitable access to safe drinking water will likely continue to perpetuate academic achievement disparities as children become young adults, and therefore, will exacerbate income disparities into adulthood and for future generations. This project’s goal is to gain a better understanding of lead exposure of children who drink from private wells so that critical interventions – such a well water stewardship education, low-cost filters, financial support to maintain the filters, and in some cases development of community water supplies – may be implemented to eliminate lead exposure completely.

The More You Know –  Insights from Integrated Pre-Visit Surveys in a Pediatric Environmental Health Center

Institution: Boston Children’s Hospital

Mentor: Marissa Hauptman

Institution: Harvard Children’s Hospital

Shalini Shah

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Asthma is a leading chronic childhood disease wrought with inequity, disproportionately impacting Black, Hispanic, and poor communities in terms of higher prevalence, hospitalization rates and mortality. My project aims to develop an electronic environmental health screening tool for use in clinical settings with goals of raising awareness regarding environmental exposures, supporting families with educational resources, and increasing referrals to community-based programs where applicable. By strengthening relationships between healthcare providers, patients, and community programs, we can further advocate for more systemic change to improve health outcomes.

A Survey to Inform Clinical Approaches to Address Climate-Health and Equity

Mentor: Lesa Walker

Institution: University of Colorado, CU Anschutz

Eric Balaban

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Groups limited by socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic disparities are particularly vulnerable to health risks posed by a changing climate, as they often lack the resources to fund climate resilience. Our project seeks to ensure that these communities are empowered in designing solutions to climate-informed healthcare and environmental justice. We are executing a survey-based project to report on the lived experiences of healthcare providers associated with these communities to better define the problem of environmental justice and what early solutions may exist.

 

Program for Day 1 April 18 2022

8.30 am Welcome 

Abby Mutic PhD, MSN, CNM

Director, Southeast Pediatric Environment Health Specialty Unit

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta GA

 

8.35 am Message from ATSDR

Linda Hansen MD MPH

Chief, Environmental Medicine and Health Systems Intervention Section

Office of Capacity Development and Applied Prevention Science (OCDAPS)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 

8.40 am Message from EPA

Frederick Thompson
Acting Deputy Regional Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
Region 4 in Atlanta, GA

 

8.45 Introduction to Break the Cycle 

Leslie Rubin, MD 

Director, Break the Cycle Program 

Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta GA

 

 

Break the Cycle 17 Trainee Presentations

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

9.00 am Alyson Alde

Water Infrastructure to Improve Childhood Health and Decrease Childhood Lead Exposure

Mentor: Jacqeline McDonald Gibson

Institution: Indiana University 

 

9.20 am Michelle Del Rio
Factors and Inequities of Lead (Pb) Exposure in U.S. Children from Low-Income Urban Public Schools
Mentor: Jacqueline McDonald Gibson

Institution: Indiana University 

Low-Income Urban Public Schools

9:40 am Health Break

 

9:50 am Keynote Speaker:

Jacqueline McDonald Gibson PhD

Disparities in Access to Safe Drinking Water in the United States 

Professor and Chair Environmental and Occupational Health

Indiana University

10.50 Health Break

11.00 am Margaret Pinder

Socioeconomic Disadvantage at Birth and Later Life Behavioral Outcomes Among Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns

Mentor: Rebecca Fry

Institution: University of North Carolina 

 

11.20 am Shalini Shah

The More You Know –  Insights from Integrated Pre-Visit Surveys in a Pediatric Environmental Health Center

Institution: Boston Children’s Hospital

Mentor: Marissa Hauptman

11.40 am Kylie Riley

Personal Exposure Report Back: Knowledge as a way to end Environmental Health Disparities

Mentor: Julie Herbstman

Institution: Columbia University 

12:00 Lunch Break

 

1:00 pm Keynote Speaker:

Julie Herbstman PhD, ScM

Using data from an urban longitudinal birth cohort to break the cycle of environmental health disparities 

Associate Professor Environmental Health Sciences

Columbia University

2:00 pm HEALTH BREAK

2:10 pm  Devon Nenon 

Redlining and Environmental Justice: Identifying the Roots of Child Health Vulnerabilities to Climate Change

Mentor: Eric Coker

Institution: University of Florida

2:30 pm Eric Balaban

A Survey to Inform Clinical Approaches to Address Climate-Health and Equity

Mentor: Lesa Walker 

Institution: University of Colorado, CU Anschutz

2:50 pm Alexis Nutkiewicz, Gwen Anderson, Aminah Habib, Miguel Duenas, Lorely Ruiz

The Effect of Activism on Eco-Anxiety in Adolescents

Mentor: Kelly L’Engle 

Institution: University of San Francisco 

3:10 pm Concluding Ceremony

Leslie Rubin MD

Director, Break the Cycle Program

3:30 pm Adjourn

 

 

Symposium Agenda :
Break the Cycle of Climate Change for Vulnerable Children
April 19 2022

8:30 am Welcome
Lynn Gardner, MD, MBA, FAAP, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Pediatric Residency Training Program, Interim Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine

8:35 am Break the Cycle of Climate Change for Vulnerable Children
Leslie Rubin MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine, Southeast PEHSU at Emory University, Founder, Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc.

8:50 am Planetary Health, Climate Change and Equity
Carlos Faerron., MD, MSc. Assistant Professor and Director of Global Health Programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Associate Director, Planetary Health Alliance, Co-founder and Director, InterAmerican Center for Global Health. Costa Rica

9:15 am Climate Change in Chile: Change in Society and Children’s Health
Dra. María de los Angeles Paúl D. Pediatra Profesor Asistente División de Pediatría Facultad de Medicina Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

9:35 am Climate Change and Indigenous Populations
Nicole Redvers, ND, MPH, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Health, Assistant Professor, Family & Community Medicine, University of North Dakota, co-founder and chair of the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation and Member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation.

10:00 am Break

10:10 am Climate Change and Immigrant Populations 
Subada Soti, MD, Resident Physician, J. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

 

10:30 am Adapting Health Education in the Climate Crisis

Rebecca Philipsborn, MD MPA, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine and Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health; Region 4 PEHSU

10:50am The Climate Equity Collaborative: a Next Generation Public-Private-Partnership
Justin Harris, Climate Equity Collaborative

11:10 am Breakout sessions and discussions
Groups break out for discussion

12:10 pm Feedback from group
Report back from groups

12:30 pm Adjourn
Leslie Rubin

 

Symposium Speakers

Rebecca Philipsborn, MD MPA

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine and Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Region 4 PEHSU

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Rebecca Pass Philipsborn, MD, MPA is a pediatrician at Emory University School of Medicine
and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In addition to serving on the southeast PEHSU, she
practices pediatrics at Hughes Spalding Primary Care Center, is the Associate Director of
Emory’s Pediatrics Clerkship and Director of the Global Health Track for pediatric residents. Her
scholarly work focuses on understanding the influence of climate change on child health and
teaching climate change and environmental health to students and trainees. At Emory, she
previously conducted research with Emory Global Health Institute and the Child Health and
Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, a program to better delineate causes of
global child mortality in order to guide prevention efforts. Before her career in medicine, she
worked in healthcare consulting and public health, including in maternal and child health and
nutrition at the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme in West Africa. Dr. Philipsborn
serves on the executive committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on
Environmental Health and Climate Change, the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate
Change US Working Group, and the Steering Committee for Georgia Clinicians for Climate
Action. She completed medical school and residency training at Emory University, holds an
MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International
and Public Affairs, and an AB in English from Princeton University.

Carlos A. Faerron Guzmán, M.D., M.Sc.

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Dr. Faerron is currently Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Maryland Baltimore, Graduate School.  He is also the Director of the Centro Interamericano para la Salud Global (CISG) in Costa Rica and acts as the Associate Director of the Planetary Health Alliance at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as adjunct faculty at the Universidad de Costa Rica, School of Medicine and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

 

Dr. Faerron began his career as a primary care doctor in a rural area of Costa Rica, where he worked closely with migrant and indigenous populations. His work seeks to redefine the meaning of leadership in global health through innovative educational approaches. 

Dr. Faerron follows a framework of equity in health and human rights as guiding principles and firmly believes in progress in health through community empowerment, action/research, and participatory education. 

 

He obtained his medical degree at the University of Costa Rica and his MSc. in International Health at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Additional studies include Social Justice at the International Institute for Health and Development in Scotland and Social Innovation for Health from INCAE Business School. He is a Fellow of the Central American Healthcare Initiative. 

Justin J Harris

Executive Director (interim), Climate Equity Collaborative 

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Justin J Harris serves  as the interim ED of the Climate Equity Collaborative which is a partnership of nonprofit, government, and private sector organizations committed to building whole-of-society approaches to tackling the climate crisis at the domestic and international levels.. Prior to joining the CEC, Mr. Harris was a Senior Program Manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Regional & Bilateral Affairs.  At EPA he led the agency’s second largest international program.   He had direct responsibility for collaborative programs addressing children’s health, climate change, marine litter, e-waste management, enforcement/governance, and environmental education. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and graduated with an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Nicole Redvers, ND, MPH

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Dr. Nicole Redvers, ND, MPH, is a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation in Denendeh (NWT, Canada) and has worked with Indigenous patients, scholars, and communities around the globe her entire career. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Indigenous Health at the University of North Dakota where she helped developed and launch the first Indigenous health PhD program. Dr. Redvers is co-founder and current board chair of the Canadian charity the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation based in Yellowknife, NWT, providing traditional Indigenous-rooted Land-based wellness supports to northerners.  She has been actively involved at regional, national, and international levels promoting the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in both human and planetary health research and practice. She is author of the trade paperback book titled, ‘The Science of the Sacred: Bridging Global Indigenous Medicine Systems and Modern Scientific Principles’.

Subada Soti, MD,

Internal Medicine Resident, Emory University School of Medicine

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Subada Soti, MD is a second-year internal medicine resident at Emory University School of Medicine. She is part of the primary care track and quality improvement track within the residency program. Originally from Nepal, she is interested in using implementation science to adapt evidence-based models that increase access to primary care in the US and Nepal.  She is passionate about understanding what primary care should look like in the era of climate change. She is currently a co-investigator in a multidisciplinary study aimed at identifying the current level of disaster preparedness for refugee communities in Clarkson, GA. This will serve as a basis for future projects that address identified gaps and barriers of disaster preparedness. She completed medical school at University of Colorado School of Medicine and holds double majors in biochemistry and molecular biology with minor in leadership from University of Colorado Boulder. 

Lynn Gardner, MD, MBA, FAAP,
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Pediatric Residency Training Program, Interim Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine
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Originally from North Carolina, Dr. Gardner received her BS in Biology and her MD at The University of NC at Chapel Hill. She then moved to Atlanta to complete her residency and chief residency in Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. After 3 years in private practice, Dr. Gardner served on the faculty of Emory for almost 18 years. She was Associate Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program at Emory for 13 years and now has the honor of serving as Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. In 2022, she was appointed Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine. Nationally, she has served as co-chair of the Associate Program Directors Special Interest Group in the Association of Pediatric Program Directors and on the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While with the CDC, she chaired a workgroup that wrote the National CDC statement on Educational Assessments for Children Affected by Lead. Administratively, she has served as Medical Staff President, Hospital Board Member and Member of the Medical Executive Committee for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Gardner also co-founded a non-profit organization called Exceeding The Mark Inc. serves as director of world mission at her church with annual medical mission trips to Jamaica. She currently resides in Stone Mountain Georgia.

Dr. Maria A. Paul, MD

Dr. Maria A. Paul, MD, Assistant professor of Pediatrics, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile 

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Maria A. Paul is a pediatrician at the Down Syndrome Program and the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Program of the UC-Christus Health Care Network in Santiago, Chile. She received her medical degree and pediatric residency training from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where she has worked since completing her training, currently as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. She teaches undergraduate students and pediatric residents and conducts research on topics such as Down Syndrome and CSHCN. She recently completed the Infant-Parent Mental Health Postgraduate Certificate at University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

 
Break the Cycle supports student-driven research projects that explore social, economic, and environmental factors that adversely affect children’s health and well-being and develop creative strategies to promote health and well-being for children and, thereby, Break the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities

Project Guidelines

  • University students from all disciplines are invited to develop projects that creatively address social, economic, and environmental factors that adversely affect the health of children. Students are required to identify a mentor in their university departments to monitor and guide their projects.
    The Application form is available
    here

     

  • All applications are evaluated based on a focus to the cycle of environmental health disparities, the quality of the proposal, novelty, feasibility, and potential for sustainability. There are a limited number selected for full participation in the program each year.
     

  • During the project period there are monthly conference calls to support the progress of the research projects, share ideas and assure that the project is on track and consistent with the spirit of the Break the Cycle concept.
     

  • At the end of the project period, students are required to present their projects at a conference which will be open to the public and includes a keynote speaker of national stature. Conference date will be April 2022
     

  • Students write papers on their projects which are submitted for publication in an international journal as a monograph of the Break the Cycle projects.
     

  • We look froward to following the careers of the students and to remain in contact to monitor the impact of their participation in the Break the Cycle Program on their academic or professional careers.

Desired Outcomes
 

To inspire students from a variety of academic disciplines to explore the relationship between adverse social, economic and environmental factors and the health and development of children and to creatively generate strategies to address the challenges
 

To collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of academic leaders from different universities and colleges to creatively examine the broader landscape of this topic
 

To promote leadership among students
 

To encourage faculty of our university partners to promote academic interest and social awareness of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities.

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Environmental Health Disparities 
Children who grow up in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage are at greater risk for exposure to adverse environmental factors and are more likely to suffer adverse health and developmental consequences. Break the Cycle supports an interdisciplinary set of student-driven research projects that explore the environmental, economic and social factors that adversely affect children’s health and creatively develop strategies to promote the health of children and, thereby, Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities. 


 

About the Program 
Students are required to work with academic mentors from their respective university programs to submit a proposal on how they would develop a project to Break the Cycle. All proposals will be reviewed, and a limited number will be selected based on relevance to the cycle of environmental health disparities, creativity, feasibility, and strength of the project plan. Those selected will have the opportunity to work with the Break the Cycle faculty and other students from around the country and internationally, to see the project to completion and present their research results and findings at an annual conference in Atlanta scheduled for the spring of 2022. There will be monthly conference calls to review projects and provide perspectives and guidance on the projects.  During these conference calls, faculty and students will have the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with their counterparts in other disciplines at other universities. Students will also be required to write a scientific paper on their project which will be published in an international peer-review journal as well as a chapter in a book


 

Who Can Apply
Students from all disciplines and training levels are encouraged to apply. This includes undergraduates, graduate students, medical residents, and fellows. 


 

A History of Success
Since the inception of the Break the Cycle program in 2004-2005, have we partnered with over 50 different university departments in 12 States in the USA as well as from Africa and Latin America, and have supported research for over 150 students. 
We have published the student projects in 
13 international journal supplements and 13 books on public health. 

In 2012 we conducted a survey of past students who rated their experience with Break the Cycle valuable, and many continued to pursue careers related to their Break the Cycle projects.

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Please email lrubi01@emory.edu if you have any questions

Break the Cycle of children’s Environmental Health Disparities is a program featuring students from universities around the country who will present their projects on strategies to improve the quality of life for children who grow up under adverse social, economic and environmental circumstances.

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