Food and Water Contaminants Panel Video of Panel Available Here
10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Dr. Marcella Remer Thompson, University of Rhode Island
Marcella Remer Thompson, PhD, MS (’85), CSP, RN, COHN-S, FAAOHN
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Pathology; Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI
Co-Leader of Community Engagement, Superfund Research Program Center at Brown University
With a breadth of community engagement experience in clinical, corporate and academic venues, Dr. Thompson learned the art of communicating risk and the value of creating an environment that supports change. Dr. Thompson chaired a state commission comprised of members from divergent special-interest groups to reduce Rhode Island’s use of mercury. This experience taught her the delicate but difficult task of finding common ground and facilitating group dynamics to positively impact public health. In developing the role of the scientist as a knowledge broker, she has facilitated partnerships among academics, government legislators and regulators, healthcare professionals, community and tribal leaders. Together, they planned and executed projects that addressed their environmental health issues building upon their contextual knowledge while advancing scientific knowledge and evidence-based practices. Her research encompasses the study of complex environmental exposures and impacts among vulnerable communities. Dr. Thompson is Principal Investigator of The Namaus (All Things Fish) Project in collaboration with the Narragansett Tribe, Charlestown, RI. Phase II of this project focuses on the translation and utilization of transdisciplinary research within social environmental justice contexts to promote the availability of environmental health related information to inform policy decisions.
Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center
Shaina Kasper is the Vermont and New Hampshire State Director of Toxics Action Center, a New England-wide non-profit based in Boston that organizes with communities on the frontlines of local environmental and health threats. At Toxics Action Center, she helps local community groups to clean up hazardous waste site and promote clean water, safe energy, and zero waste. Shaina’s work with community groups has helped stop two pipelines, stop landfill expansions and incinerator proposals, and more. She also facilitates the National PFAS Contamination Coalition. Shaina’s organizing experience includes fossil fuel divestment, housing and economic justice, good governance, anti-water privatization, and the JOIN for Justice Jewish organizing fellowship. Shaina lives in Montpelier, Vermont where she enjoys her radical ladies book group and running and skiing in the green mountains.
Niaz Dorry, National Family Farm Coalition and Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
Niaz moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts – the oldest settled fishing port in the U.S. – in 1994 when she decided to work on fisheries issues. At the time, she was an ocean and fisheries campaigner for Greenpeace. She took on fisheries issues following her work on environmental justice issues as a Greenpeace toxics campaigner, and has been hooked ever since. She has been working with small-scale, traditional, and indigenous fishing communities in the U.S. and from around the globe ever since, advancing the rights and ecological benefits of the small-scale fishing communities as a means of protecting global marine biodiversity.
Prior to joining NAMA, Niaz was Interim COO for the Healthy Building Network, helping to apply environmental justice principles to building materials, at a time when HBN was working on homes in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She worked with Greenpeace for 11 years as a toxics and environmental justice campaigner. She spent two years in Ohio in that time, fighting with communities along the Ohio River Valley against a Waste Technologies Industries hazardous waste incinerator. It was during her time at Greenpeace that she began working with community-based fishermen. The span of her work has made her well aware of the problems facing rural communities through concentration, lost markets, crumbling infrastructure, and diminished health care.
Time Magazine named Niaz as a Hero For The Planet for this work. Niaz’ work and approach have been noted in a number of books including Against the Tide; Deeper Shade of Green; The Spirit’s Terrain; Vanishing Species; The Great Gulf; Swimming in Circles; A Troublemaker’s Teaparty; Zugunruhe: The Inner Migration To Profound Environmental Change; Raising Dough: Public History and the Food Movement; The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business; Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections Between Cities and Oceans; and, The Doryman’s Reflection.