Nov 15

Announcing Changes at CHE

Karen Wang, PhD, MSc photoBy Karen Wang, PhD, MSc
Science Educator, Healthy Building Consultant

Dear CHE Partners, Colleagues, and Friends,

I am writing today to share with you that I will be leaving my role as director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment at the end of 2021. It is time for my next professional challenge, but I look forward to remaining colleagues with you all. 

I have learned so much during my almost 5 years with CHE and am proud of the work that we have accomplished. Under my leadership, CHE’s webinars evolved into a series format, which has allowed us to delve deeply into important topics such as COVID-19 and Environmental Health, Environmental Exposures and Reproductive Health, and Plastics and Human Health. We have also spotlighted young environmental health scientists and scientists from historically under-represented backgrounds. We increased average live webinar attendance and our video recordings are watched thousands of times.

In 2018, we also launched Because Health, an environmental health educational campaign for the general public. Because Health's website has more than 400 pieces of educational environmental health content and averages 40,000 users a month and approximately 1 million page views a year. Because Health also has an engaged community of over 65,000 users on Instagram. Because Health has successfully brought younger, more diverse voices into the environmental health conversation and plays a crucial role in educating mainstream audiences about environmental health issues. 

Starting in January 2022, Because Health will be transitioning to the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), in Oakland, CA. CEH is a 25-year-old organization leading the nationwide effort to protect people from toxic chemicals. Their multi-pronged approach uses science, policy, litigation, and purchasing power to create real wins for public health. The strong content, voice, and audience of Because Health is a perfect fit to amplify and expand CEH’s impact. By incorporating Because Health into CEH, we are expanding CEH’s audience, incorporating innovative messaging, and distilling complex environmental health concepts into actionable steps that people can take to build a healthier future for all. Because Health’s mission of empowering positive individual action will be magnified when paired with CEH’s legacy of advocacy towards collective impact and societal change. I will be working at CEH on the transition for the next 6 months and am very excited for this opportunity and grateful to Michael Green, CEO of CEH for his partnership.

Throughout the fall and beyond, under the leadership of Ann Blake, Phd, CHE will begin to engage in a strategic planning process to better understand how the organization can continue to play a role in creating a world where all people live free from harmful environmental exposures that adversely impact human health. Building on actionable, prevention-driven behaviors and policies, as well as more equitable economic and legal structures that protect public health and address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities that are linked to environmental injustices are more important than ever. We will be sending out a survey soon so that your voices will be heard. Please keep an eye out for that.

I wanted to thank Michael Lerner and Oren Slozberg for giving me the opportunity to lead CHE and for allowing me the freedom to build Because Health. I look forward to working with them on the transition and beyond as colleagues in the fight for a better world for many years to come.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I would welcome the opportunity to connect with you all further.

Thank you,


Karen Wang