CEC- Who We Are

Vision and Framework

Our vision is to develop mutually beneficial long-term collaborations with community partners focused on environmental health through dialogue, shared goals, and commitment to community-driven impact. We aim to accomplish this through a framework, which is based on four steps: Problem Definition, Resources for Collaboration, Structure and Decision Process, and Project Impacts.


The mission of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to partner with community organizations and other stakeholders to co-develop strategies and implement programs that address local, regional and national environmental health concerns. The CEC is currently focused on facilitating community-driven projects that leverage our center-based knowledge, research, analytical tools, and equipment.

Information Request Form

We are interested in finding ways to build partnerships that address environmental issues facing local and regional communities. By completing this form, you will help our team gain a better understanding of your goals, which will help us identify potential matches with our resources, goals, and capabilities. After we receive the completed form, a member of our team will reach out to you via your preferred method of contact within two weeks. Thank you for taking the time to provide this information.

Information Request Form

Our Team

Gary Adamkiewicz, Director

Gary Adamkiewicz is the Director, Community Engagement Core and an Associate Professor of Environmental Health and Exposure Disparities in the Department of Environmental Health. He oversees several research initiatives and projects committed to providing new insights into the real-world mechanisms that shape environmental health disparities and to provide new pathways to alleviate these disparities. Gary brings 30+ years of experience to this mission. He has served on EPA’s Environmental Justice Technical Guidance Review Panel, under the auspices of the agency’s Science Advisory Board. He has also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization’s effort to establish indoor air quality guidelines. Dr. Adamkiewicz holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Outside of the office, Gary enjoys travel and food, as well as talking about travel and food (did he mention the food?).


Ann Backus, Director of Community Engagement

Ann Backus is the Director of Community Engagement in the Community Engagement Core and an instructor in occupational health in the Department of Environmental Health.  She has been with the NIEHS Center for 20 years and has also served as director of outreach for several Superfund Research Program Grants and a Children’s Environmental Health Program Grant at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.  Currently she splits her time between the NIEHS Center and the Harvard Chan NIOSH –funded Education and Research Center. Recent community engagement projects include the Asthma Obesity Connection which provided new information for practitioners regarding the relationship between asthma and obesity and a citizen science project comparing PM 2.5 exposures along the Fairmount Greenway bike route with exposures on “parallel” thoroughfares. She works closely with the Region I Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at Boston Children’s Hospital and participated actively with the development of the e-screener project for pediatric environmental health lead by Region II PEHSU and the Mt Sinai NIEHS Center. Ms Backus serves on the Fairmount Greenway Task Force and is active on the APHA Noise and Health subcommittee. She is also a long-standing member of the NIEHS DR2 (Disaster Recovery Research) committee. Ms Backus developed FRACKMAP on the WorldMap platform designed by the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis and continues this work as FRACKMAP Biblio with Nathalie de-Marcellis-Warin of Montreal Polytechnique and Thierry Warin of HEC Montreal. Ms Backus has a Masters degree in Organization and Management from Antioch University. When not at work look for her in her kayak on the ocean or visiting family in Virginia or London.

Eileen Chao, Communications Coordinator 

Eileen Chao is the Communications and Administrative Coordinator for the Harvard Chan-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health. She assists the Community Engagement Core with logistics and planning, as well as publicizing upcoming events, current projects, and other news. She completed a dual masters program in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Cape Town. She received a B.A. in her home state from the University of California, San Diego. Outside of work, Eileen enjoys dogsitting, riding horses, and surfing.


CEC Stakeholder Advisory Board

Eugene Barros
Director of Healthy Homes and Community Support Division,
Boston Public Health Commission
Photo courtesy of Eugene Barros.



MoonMichelle Moon, MA
Principal + Founder, Civic Space Collaborative
Project Manager Consultant, Fairmount Greenway
Photo courtesy of Civic Space Collaborative.


Laura McNulty, MPH, MSW
Community & Population Health Epidemiologist/ Analyst, Cambridge Health Alliance
Photo Courtesy Laura McNulty




QueeleyDavid Queeley, MRP 
Director, Eco-Innovation
Codman Square Neighborhood Development Association
Photo courtesy of Codman Square Neighborhood Development Association



Alan D Woolf, MD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Director, Pediatric Environmental Health Center, Boston Children’s Hospital
Co-Director Region 1 New England Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU)
Photo courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital