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Anna Young, PhD, MS, BA

Research Associate
Environmental Health

Advisor: Dr. Joseph Allen | Program: EER | Concentration:  Environmental Epidemiology

– Q & A –

What is your background/experience prior to entering the program?

My undergraduate training was in computer science and environmental studies. As I learned about issues related to toxic chemicals and public health for the first time, I decided to enter the MS program – and later PhD program – in environmental occupational health at Harvard SPH, funded by the ERC training grant.

Why/how did you become interested in Occupational Health?

During the summer before the MS program, I worked as a research assistant in the department for a project about the chemical exposures of nail salon workers. I was inspired by the importance of investigating disparate exposures among vulnerable occupational populations and of informing solutions that address hazards upstream at the source to effectively protect workers.

What is your current involvement in Occupational Health?

I am currently leading a few occupational health studies: 1) The impacts of real-time indoor air quality at home on people’s brain function, productivity, and well-being while working remotely from home during the covid-19 pandemic; 2) The hormone-disrupting exposures of office workers to complex chemical mixtures using silicone wristband samplers worn only in office buildings around the world; 3) The benefits of “healthier materials” interventions in university buildings on reducing levels of PFAS and total organic fluorine in dust.

What are your future career plans/goals?

 I plan to apply for faculty jobs at public health universities and build a research program in the reproductive epidemiology of our exposures to complex mixtures of hormone-disrupting chemicals.

What are your current or past Pilot Projects?

“Total Fluorine as a Surrogate for PFAS Content in Dust in Healthy vs Conventional Buildings” (2021 pilot)

“Identifying Sources of Exposure in Nail Salon Workers to Inform Targeted Interventions” (2016 pilot)

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Five Questions with Anna Young

Our environmental #toxins funding awardee analyzes wristbands to identify hormone-disrupting chemicals in offices.