Apr 12

What’s new, Newsletter essay
Season of Change at CHE

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

When I first spoke to Michael Lerner, co-founder of CHE, about the opportunity to direct CHE, Steve Job's 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University immediately jumped to my mind. "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."

Admittedly, I am a bit of an outsider to the environmental health field, but it's clear to me now that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. As a student at Stanford (BA '04 MSc '05), I studied the ways in which poverty, the world food economy and the environment are interwoven. This led to a job leading monitoring and evaluation with the UN Millennium Villages Project in ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa. During my time there, I developed an interest in how organizations succeed and returned to the West Coast to complete a doctorate (PhD '15) in Strategic Management at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. My research focused on physician-hospital relationships and health outcomes in the US healthcare system. Most importantly, I was developing a personal passion for environmental health that stemmed from my own health history and the birth of my daughter last year. I feel lucky to have found meaningful work in CHE that not only connects the dots of my past but also opens up countless possibilities for the future.

I am excited to build on the work CHE has done in the environmental health community and educate a broader audience about the connections between the environment and our bodies. With public health and environmental protections being eroded, it is more important than ever that CHE creates a new coalition of voices for evidence-based science. To meet the challenge, CHE is planning on launching new programs and campaigns to bring millennials and youth into the environmental health conversation. We are going to expand our use of social media and other digital technologies to reach a younger audience. We will continue our efforts to be a premier resource for the latest environmental health science by modernizing our communication platforms. And we will refocus our efforts on connecting scientists and researchers in environmental health with these new audiences. We are still working on the details of the programmatic changes, so stay tuned. I welcome any suggestions or ideas, and would love to hear from you. Please reach out to me directly at karen@healthandenvironment.org.

Finally, we are having another staff transition happen at the end of April. Lorelei Walker is leaving us after a year of amazing service, and her program manager duties will be taken over on a temporary basis by Maria Williams, who has worked with Toxic-Free Future (formerly Washington Toxics Coalition) and the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders. Please join me in thanking Lorelei and welcoming Maria.

Karen Wang, PhD
Director, Collaborative on Health and the Environment


Tags: informing changeEnvironmental Contributors