Headlines in 2020 have been filled with news of the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires on the West Coast, and a re-energized fight against systemic racism — and that confluence is not by chance. Our discussion will spotlight some of the compelling recent empirical research demonstrating how inter-related these three urgent issues are. Studies show that people of color are disproportionately affected by negative health outcomes tied to both the drivers and implications of climate change such as pollution and urban heat, even when data are adjusted for income, geography, and other co-variables. While the idea of environmental justice is not new, the particular vulnerability of communities of color to COVID-19 has renewed focus on what drives those unbalanced outcomes. In addition to the relationship between race and climate vulnerability, we will discuss the equity considerations of climate policy.

This event will be a virtual session on Zoom from 12:00 until 1:30 PM. Additional details will be provided to registered attendees prior to the session.


Dr. Francesca Dominici

Dr. Francesca Dominici is a data scientist whose pioneering scientific contributions have advanced public health research around the globe. Her life’s work has focused broadly on developing and advancing methods for the analysis of large, heterogeneous data sets to identify and understand the health impacts of environmental threats and inform policy.

Dr. Dominici received her B.S. in Statistics from University La Sapienza in Rome, Italy and her Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Padua in Italy. She did her postdoctoral training with Scott L. Zeger and Jonathan M. Samet at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. In 1999, she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and in 2007 she was promoted to Full Professor with tenure. Dr. Dominici was recruited to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a tenured Professor of Biostatistics in 2009. She was appointed Associate Dean of Information Technology in 2011 and Senior Associate Dean for Research in 2013. She is currently the Co-Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative. Dr. Dominici was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2018.

Dr. Patricia (Trish) Koman

Dr. Trish Koman is a research investigator at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Environmental Health Sciences department and the faculty research program manager at the College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design. She leads community-engaged research to create healthier communities.

Dr. Trish Koman draws on over 20 years of public service as a senior environmental scientist at US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) working mainly to improve air quality. She was part of the leadership team for the US EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign, where she initiated a partnership to reduce diesel emissions at US marine ports and helped create the Clean School Bus USA partnership program to protect children’s health. Trish managed multi-disciplinary benefit-cost analyses, regulatory programs, and technological innovation initiatives. Her air quality and policy analyses formed the rationale for setting landmark national ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter, which withstood a challenge to the US Supreme Court. She has been recognized with four Gold Medals for exceptional service to the country and an EPA Administrator award for excellence.

In partnership with community groups, Dr. Koman led an environmental education effort in Flint, Michigan. She also received a University of Michigan Provost award for innovation in teaching.

Dr. Saria Hassan

Saria Hassan, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Emory School of Medicine. She is an implementation scientist with an interest in addressing the needs of individuals with chronic disease in humanitarian settings. These include humanitarian settings that result from natural as well as man-made disasters. Dr. Hassan received her MD from Harvard Medical School and subsequently completed residency training in Adult Medicine and Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine. She subsequently worked in primary care with vulnerable populations in a federally qualified health center in New Haven, CT before she discovered the power of implementation science in addressing health disparities in the US and world-wide.

Since 2016, Dr. Hassan has been conducting research in the Caribbean as part of the Yale Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN). As part of ECHORN, she led the Implementation Core of an NIH/NIMHD funded U54 working on reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through evidence-based interventions. When her colleagues and participants were severely affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Dr. Hassan recognized the need to improve our ability to manage NCDs during disasters. This work is a high priority in the Caribbean, an area of the world prone to natural disasters, but also in other parts of the world where NCD care disruption results from both natural and man-made disasters. Dr. Hassan now has an NHLBI-funded grant to move the field forward in understanding the system changes needed to address NCD needs in disasters.


Katherine Spector

Katherine Spector is an independent consultant on energy markets and energy policy, with an emphasis on oil and natural gas. She is a longtime energy market analyst, having spent the past 15+ years producing thought-leading research at major banks. The bulk of her career was spent leading energy strategy and research for the commodity derivatives sales and trading desks at CIBC World Markets, JPMorgan Chase, and Deutsche Bank. Ms. Spector was responsible for the banks' energy price forecasts and market views, and she produced analysis of global energy supply-demand fundamentals, price behavior, market structure, and geopolitical risks. Her work supported bank traders and originators in all major regions, and clients ranged from oil and gas companies, to institutional investors, to representatives of US and international government.

Ms. Spector is a non-resident Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. She is also on the board of the New York Energy Forum, an educational organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge about energy issues. She serves as an advisory committee member for environmental non-profit Scenic Hudson. Prior to her work on Wall Street, she worked as the editor of Oil Market Intelligence at the Energy Intelligence Group and as a consultant with Industrial Economics, Inc. where her work included litigation support for the deregulation of natural gas utilities. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, held term membership at the Council on Foreign Relations, and has appeared regularly in print and television media on a wide range of energy issues.

Ms. Spector graduated with honors with a degree in Political Science from Yale University, where her research focused on patterns of rent distribution in petro-states, and implications for democratization.


12:00 - 1:30 PM: Presentation and Discussion


This session is complimentary for all registrants. Registration is required for event link details.


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