Health Effects of Wildfires: How to protect yourself and your family

September 14, 2021
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Stephanie Holm and Mark Miller: A Story of Health, Sofia’s Story: Wildfire Health Impacts


Wildfires and Children’s Health– Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit – multiple resources on the topic including fact sheets, infographics and links to other useful materials.

Health effects of wildfire smoke in children and public health tools: a narrative review, a scientific paper on wildfire smoke and children’s health published by the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. 

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH) podcast “Wildfire Smoke and Children’s Health” with Dr. Stephanie Holm MD PhD MPH.

Informational video on Protecting Children from Wildfire Smoke in the Pacific Southwest - YouTube.

As fire season ensues in the west and across the country, what can we do to protect ourselves and our families from the air pollution and other dangers that wildfires bring? A new chapter in the award-winning multi-media eBook, A Story of Health, explores this topic and provides detailed prevention strategies, such as a low-cost fix to filter your indoor air. In the story we follow nine-year-old Sofia and her family in California as they learn how to protect themselves from the immediate and longer-term health dangers of a nearby wildfire. Hear from leading experts, Drs. Stephanie Holm and Mark Miller, co-directors at the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (WSPEHSU), on topics including:

  • What’s in wildfire smoke and how does it affect health?
  • Evidence-based ways to protect health from wildfire smoke through appropriate masking, improving indoor air quality and other specific measures
  • How to access information on outdoor air quality and wildfire status
  • Guidelines on disaster preparedness before, during and after a wildfire
  • Information for families to help children cope with psychological impacts of wildfires
  • How to prepare medical offices before a wildfire event to enable ongoing patient care
  • Policy recommendations to help prevent and mitigate wildfires
  • How to address inequities in exposures, and improve air quality and enhance long-term sustainability for all members of society

Download for free and access free CE credits here.

Featured Speakers

Stephanie Holm, MD, PhD, MPH is Co-Director of the Western States PEHSU. Dr. Holm received her medical degree in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh. She is board certified in both pediatrics and occupational/environmental medicine (trained at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland and University of California San Francisco, respectively). She also completed a year of pediatric pulmonary training at Oakland before leaving to further pursue her interests in pediatric research and pediatric environmental medicine. She was the PI on THE AQUA study, a dual cohort study of asthmatic children with and without cigarette exposure, which measured particulate matter levels in children’s home environments in order to correlate these with features and behaviors of the household and its occupants. As part of her work with the Region 9 PEHSU, she reviewed literature relevant to disinfectant use and toxicities in early care and education environments. Dr. Holm completed an MPH in epidemiology at UC Berkeley in 2017 and a PhD in epidemiology in 2021.

Mark Miller, MD, MPH, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He is also the co-director of the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) and the director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at California Environmental Protection Agency. He received his medical degree and completed a pediatric residency at Michigan State University. He received his Master’s in Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley and completed a residency with the California Department of Health Services in Preventive Medicine. Dr. Miller is part of the development team and a primary author of A Story of Health, an award winning multi-media eBook and CE course on environment and health. He worked with Physicians for Social Responsibility to develop the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit, a resource to assist clinicians to incorporate preventive environmental health messages into routine pediatric care. 

This webinar was moderated by Maria Valenti, Director of the Commonweal Health and Environment Literacy Project (HELP). It lasted for 60 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.