Chair Chatter

 April 12, 2024 

Happy Friday everyone. I hope you all had the opportunity to safely view the beautiful total solar eclipse this past Monday. Whether you witnessed it in person or through the lens of a camera, the experience was surely unforgettable. The moment was captured in Cleveland, Ohio, by my husband, Paul Jackson, below! There is a solar prominence that is the size of 10 earths that you can see in the lower part of the photo. 

Total solar eclipse
Total solar eclipse.

LinkedIn; I am thrilled about the launch of our new Department of Environmental Health LinkedIn page! I hope you all—especially our EH students graduating this year—follow the page to stay updated on department news, events, coverage, and more. Plus, get the chance to be tagged and recognized when your contributions are featured. Complete this survey for a chance to have your content showcased on our LinkedIn page!  

Marathon Monday/Patriots’ Day; This Monday is Patriots’ Day, which commemorates the beginning of the American Revolutionary War which occurred in Massachusetts. The biggest celebration of this Massachusetts holiday is the Boston Marathon, which gives the day its other name: Marathon Monday. I highly encourage anyone who has never attended the Marathon to make time to get on the sidelines and cheer on the incredible runners. The University is open on Monday. If you’re commuting into the office, beware of traffic in the city. In addition to the Marathon, there will also be a daytime Red Sox game. Check out the City of Boston website for traffic advisories and road closures. And the LMA shuttles will have modified schedules for the Fenway and M2 routes. Visit here for real-time traffic information and shuttle schedule changes.   

🌟 In the Spotlight: 

EPA PFAS Ruling; Just this week, the Biden-Harris Administration set the first ever national drinking water standard to shield over 100 million people from PFAS. The EPA is also making $1 billion in funding available for these efforts. This is an incredible ruling only made possible by hard-working environmentalists like ourselves. Let’s continue to make strides like this and safeguard public health.  

Sustainable Food Systems and Climate Change; This Tuesday, I was able to virtually speak at the Academy of Athens/Delphi Economic Forum IX/Harvard Chan EH Department symposium along with Dr. Petros Koutrakis, Professor of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Walter Willet, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition. Our session focused on addressing the urgent need for food and agricultural systems to adapt and transform in response to climate change. You can watch the Forum here.  

Dr. Petros Koutrakis (fifth from the right) and Dr. Walter Willett (sixth from the left) at Delphi Economic Forum with other participants.
Dr. Petros Koutrakis (fifth from the right) and Dr. Walter Willett (sixth from the left) at Delphi Economic Forum with other participants.

Administrative Professionals Day; Administrative Professionals Day is on Wednesday, April 24, and it’s a perfect occasion to express gratitude to your invaluable admin staff who keep things running smoothly. Whether it’s a verbal “thank you” or a thoughtful card, a simple gesture can make all the difference. If you are interested in other ways to say thank you or otherwise recognize your staff, please contact your HR Partner.  You can also visit the recognition website. 

📚 Department Updates:    

EH Seminar; I am excited to share that yesterday, Dr. Mark Cullen, former Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research at Stanford, delivered a remarkable presentation titled “The Emerging Role of Administrative Health Data for EHS Research.” It was a pleasure to host Mark in the department, and his insights were exceptional.  

New Resources for EH Fellows; I am thrilled to share that we have launched new initiatives for enhanced training and mentoring of postdoctoral fellows and research associates in our department: 

  • Fellows have been sorted into peer mentoring groups and have been assigned secondary mentors within our department.  
  • There will also be monthly postdoctoral lunch series with speaker talks.  
  • And we are forming an EH postdoctoral fellow and RA planning group to help with these initiatives.  

All EH fellows and faculty should have received detailed information about these new initiatives via email. If you have any questions, please reach out to Dr. Kris Sarosiek, Associate Professor of Radiation Biology and Cell Death, Dr. Antonella Zanobetti, Principal Research Scientist, or Dr. Francine Laden, Associate Chair and Professor of Environmental Epidemiology. Thank you, Kris, Antonella, and Francine for these exciting new resources for our fellows! 

Awards; Our prior chair, Dr. Doug Dockery, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Epidemiology, received a 2024 Emeritus Faculty Award by the Harvard Chan School Faculty Council. This is a richly deserved recognition, and I cannot wait to celebrate with him on May 2 at our Spring Party.     

More Award; Join me in congratulating Dr. Xin-An Wang, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, for receiving the Scholar-in-Training Award at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in San Diego for her recent work “Additional impact of genetic ancestry over self-reported race/ethnicity to prevalence of KRAS mutations and allele-specific subtypes in non-small cell lung cancer.” The Scholar-in-Training Awards are highly competitive and recognize outstanding young investigators presenting meritorious proffered papers at the AACR Annual Meeting. With the support of Dr. David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics, Xin-An continues to make strides in her field. Great work Xin-An! 

Dr. Xin-An Wang with the other recipients of the Scholar-in-Training Award.
Dr. Xin-An Wang with the other recipients of the Scholar-in-Training Award.

Chair Office Hours; My new open office hours are from 1:30-2:00 PM on the first Tuesday of every month in Room 1301. Please check with Jen Razo first ( to make sure I will be there in person. Please stop by my office during that time if you have anything you want to discuss!  

Spring Party; Don’t miss out on the raffle! We’re excited to raffle off three incredible prizes during the Spring Party. Please make sure to attend in person for a chance to win a free four-night stay and round-trip flights to Monterey, California (with ocean access and a great view) for two people, free home-game Celtics tickets for two people, or a free spa visit in Boston for two people! Please note that families cannot win more than one prize. Please be sure to RSVP to the party using the link sent on the invitation by Monday, April 15, 2024. 

📰 In the News: 

  • Partners, Parents, Pioneers: In a recent Harvard Chan featured news story, married students Drs. Sally Hamm, ‪Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and Matt Hamm, Research Fellow, showcased their commitment to both family and career development. Thanks to Sally and Matt for all they do for our department and occupational health residency training program! 
  • Cooling the Crisis: PhD candidate Nile Nair and I co-authored a recent piece in FAS that focuses on planning to address the escalating threat of extreme heat events on public health. Along with Skye Flanigan, C-CHANGE Program Director, we created a comprehensive framework for bolstering public health preparedness. 
  • Heat Stroke Spikes: A CNN article about the rise of heat stroke deaths due to climate change quoted Dr. Mary Rice, Associate Professor of Medicine. The article also mentions a paper co-authored by Mary, Dr. Adam Haber, Assistant Professor of Computational Biology and Environmental Health, Dr. Jaime Hart, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, Dr. Mary (Prunicki) Johnson, Principal Research Scientist, Dr. Vanitha Sampath, Research Scientist, and me.
  • Climate Chaos: Dr. Gaurab Basu, C-CHANGE’s Director of Education and Policy, spoke at The Atlantic’s Health Summit and discussed the need to address climate change as a public health emergency. 

📗 New Resources  

  • is a new platform that offers simplified, one-stop access to federal data on chemical and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as enforcement actions. Featuring comprehensive databases such as Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), and Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), this platform enables users to search for facilities by zip code, substance, or parent company. It also provides insights into the top-polluting companies and facilities for each TRI chemical. 


💌 I Hear You:  

We’ve become aware of the mental health challenges facing our students, faculty, researchers, and trainees. To address this, our department, School, and student program directors are working on mental health task forces, demonstrating our commitment to enhancing mental well-being within our community. We would like to highlight the existing mental health services provided by the University. 

🎓 Students Corner   

The Office for Student Affairs (OSA) is excited to share the launching of a mentorship pilot program for FirstGen students in the SM60, SM80 academic programs. They are recruiting 10 FirstGen mentors for the pilot program for 2024-2025 academic year. Each mentor will be paired with 1-2 mentees who will begin at Harvard Chan in the Fall 2024. Mentors will provide guidance, share experiences, offer advice, and assist mentees in navigating Harvard Chan’s educational environment. The program will run during the 2024-2025 academic year, with structured activities, workshops, and networking opportunities to facilitate meaningful connections and growth not only with mentees, but also with first-generation staff and faculty. 

🍃 EJ Corner   

Cleanup the Charles; Please join members of the Environmental Justice Student Organization for the CRC’s 25th Annual Charles River Earth Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 20, 10 AM – 12 PM.  See the information below and please contact Leah Martin ( if you would like to join! 

  • Cleanup Location: You will be working at the community cleanup site in Riverbend Park, Cambridge. They will meet near the Weld Boathouse. Look for CRC staff, who will have a table set up. You can use the address 971 Memorial Drive, Cambridge. Click here for a map of the park. 
  • Waivers: All volunteers must complete a waiver before your cleanup event. Click here to find the adult waiver.  
  • Breakfast: They will be offering breakfast refreshments at the park from 9:00 – 9:45 AM.  
  • Supplies: The CRC will provide supplies needed for the cleanup. If you have your own gloves and water, please feel free to bring them.

🔔 Reminders 

Have a great weekend everyone!   



🗓Upcoming Events:   

Disclaimer: Harvard Chan School seeks to bring in speakers with a wide range of experiences and perspectives. They’re here to share their own insights; they do not speak for the School or the University. 

Chair Open Office Hours   

Building 1, Room 1301, monthly on the first Tuesday, 1:30 – 2:00 PM.  

*Please check with Jen Razo to make sure I will be there in person. 

*Office hours will be paused during the summer months: June, July and August 


Tea Time  

Building 1, 13th Floor Kitchen Area, Tuesdays 1:30 – 2:30 PM 

Landmark 4 West, Thursdays 2:30 – 3:30 PM 

April Tea of the Month: Bigelow Lavender Chamomile Plus Probiotics Herbal Tea 


*For any calendar event as it pertains to faith-based holidays, please click here. 


Today, April 12, 2024, 1:10 – 1:50 PM 

Event: ERC Seminar featuring MS2 students-Emma Goetzinger and Kate Senechal 

Description: Emma Goetzinger, MPH, will discuss her research project, A Toxicological Study of the Response of Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells Following Exposure to Triphenyl Phosphate (TPP) and Katie Senechal, BA, will present her research on Combined Effects of PM2.5, NO2, Temperature and Humidity on Fetal Growth in Eastern Massachusetts. Both are candidates for the MS degree from the Department of Environmental Health. 

Location: HSPH, Kresge 502 

Register: Click here to register. 


Monday, April 15, 2024, 1:10 – 1:50 PM 

Event: ERC Seminar 

Title: A Proposed New Strategy for Occupational Exposure Assessment for Airborne Contaminants 

Description: Gurumurthy Ramahandran, PhD, CIH, will discuss the limitations of the 1977 NIOSH exposure assessment strategy and discuss the AIHA and British-Dutch strategies in terms of their differences. He will analyze the performance of an exposure assessment strategy using performance curves, describe the proposed strategy, and explain the advantages of the proposed strategy over the existing strategies. 

Location: Virtual 

Register: Click here for Zoom registration. 


Monday, April 15, 2024, 6:00 – 7:30 PM 

Event: HUM SAB EK Exhibition 

Description: HUM SAB EK, We Are One, is a multi-media exhibition based on a survey of over 1,000 households in Gujarat, India, and 30 hours of oral histories. It captures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor working women and families, and how they navigated the greatest public health emergency of our times. Join us for the opening talk and reception with project leader Dr. Satchit Balsari and the curatorial team of graduate students. They will be in conversation with Sarita Gupta (Ford Foundation), Rishi K. Goyal (Columbia University), and representatives of India’s Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). 

Location: Tsai Auditorium, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge 

Register: Click here to RSVP. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:45 AM – 4:30 PM 

Event: Mindful Actions for Climate Change Symposium 

Description: The free and virtual day-long symposium will bring together leading academics, community leaders and activists, practitioners of mindfulness, and monastics who studied under Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Register: Register here by Sunday, April 14th. 

More Information: Click here for additional details about the event 


Thursday, April 18, 2024, 1:15 – 2:30 PM 

Event: Spring 2024 Climate Research Workshop 

Title: Where Science, Policy, and Politics Collide: The Urban and Regional Challenges of Sea-level Rise in the Nile River Valley 

Speaker(s): Jerry Mitrovica, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Diane Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Dr. Mahmoud Adel H. Hassan, Professor of Geography and GIS, Institute of Graduate Studies and Research (IGSR), Alexandria University; and Mohamed Abdrabo, Professor of Environmental Economics and Head of Alexandria Research Centre for Adaptation to Climate Change (ARCA), Alexandria University, Egypt 

Location: Harvard Kennedy School 

Register: Click here to reserve your spot. 


Saturday, April 20, 2024, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Event: Earth Day Charles River Clean Up 

Description: The Environmental Justice Student Organization (EJSO) and C-CHANGE Student Ambassadors will be volunteering at the Charles River Clean Up. 

More Information: Reach out to Leah Martin ( if you are interested in learning more. 


Monday, April 22, 2024, 12:00 – 2:00 PM 

Event: Earth Day at Countway Community Garden 

Description: Join the Office of Sustainability for some info tables, giveaways, music, and snacks. Stop by the Environmental Health Department/C-CHANGE table which is hosted by C-CHANGE Student Ambassadors; Leah Martin, Hana Lee & Ndey Isatou Jobe. 

Location: Countway Community Garden 


Monday, April 22, 2024, 4:00 PM 

Event: MEMCARE-SRC Speaker Series – Chengfeng Yang 

Speaker(s): Chengfeng, Yang, PhD, Professor, Department of Pathology Stony Brook Cancer Center 

Location: HSPH, Building 1, Room 1302 or Virtual 


Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 9:30 – 10:30 AM 

Event: MELD Seminar  

Title: WW domain-activated extracellular vesicles (WAEVs) as universal influenza vaccine 

Speaker: Oh Youn Kim, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Health 

Location: HSPH, Building 1, Room 1302 


Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 1:00 – 1:50 PM 

Event: Environment, women, and children: Experiences from the Fukushima nuclear disaster 

Description: Join WGH and speakers Dr. Aya Goto and Dr. Michio Murakami for a lunchtime talk and Q&A on their work surrounding the environmental and human health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Lunch provided!  

Location: FXB G12 or Virtual 

Register: RSVP here. 


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