Speakers

Teresa Heinz

As the chairman of The Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, Teresa Heinz has been recognized internationally for innovative grant making in environmental protection as well as in women’s health and economic empowerment. A committed environmental activist long before she took over leadership of her family’s foundations, Mrs. Heinz has been a champion for green building and other sustainable development practices in urban settings. More recently, she has been an impassioned advocate for research and treatment programs that center on the connections between human health and a toxic environment.

Her many honors include the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism for her work protecting the environment and uplifting women and children throughout the world; the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy to her and the entire Heinz family, in part for their staunch support of the environment; and the Rachel Carson Award given to her by the National Audubon Society for “outsized leadership in the environmental community.”
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Will Allen

Will Allen, son of a sharecropper, former professional basketball player, ex-corporate sales leader, and now farmer, has become recognized as among the preeminent thinkers of our time on agriculture and food policy. The founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., a farm and community food center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Allen is widely considered the leading authority in the expanding field of urban agriculture. At Growing Power and in community food projects across the nation and around the world, Allen promotes the belief that all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious foods at all times. Using methods he has developed over a lifetime, Allen trains community members to become community farmers, assuring them a secure source of good food without regard to political or economic forces. 

In 2008, Allen was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and was awarded a prestigious foundation “genius grant” for his work – only the second farmer ever to be so honored. He is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and in February 2010, he was invited to the White House to join First Lady Michelle Obama in launching “Let’s Move!” her signature leadership program to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. Will Allen’s work is prominently featured in the new documentary, FRESH, which opens at select theaters on Friday, April 9th, and is supported by a week of local and sustainable food events around New York City.


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Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA

Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A. is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. As America’s Doctor, she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Dr. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health of the American People.

Dr. Benjamin is founder and former CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama. She is the immediate past-chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, and previously served as associate dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. In 2002, she became president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, making her the first African-American woman to be president of a state medical society in the United States.

Dr. Benjamin holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans. She was in the second class at Morehouse School of Medicine and received her medical degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, as well as an M.B.A. from Tulane University. She completed her residency in family medicine at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Dr. Benjamin received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998, and was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 1995, making her the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected. Dr. Benjamin was previously named by Time Magazine as one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.” She was also featured in a New York Times article, “Angel in a White Coat,” as “Person of the Week” on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and as “Woman of the Year” by CBS This Morning. She received the 2000 National Caring Award which was inspired by Mother Teresa, as well as the papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI. She is also a recent recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award.
 

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Julia G. Brody, PhD

Dr. Julia Brody is the executive director of Silent Spring Institute, a research organization dedicated to studying the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer. Dr. Brody leads research that is investigating exposures to endocrine disruptors and carcinogens from air and water pollution and common products such as pesticides, detergents, plastics, and cosmetics. She is the lead author of Environmental Factors in Breast Cancer, a special issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, which included a groundbreaking assessment of chemicals that may be linked to breast cancer (www.silentspring.org/sciencereview). Dr. Brody is also the principal investigator of the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study, a study of 2100 women that includes testing for 89 endocrine disruptors in homes and historical exposure mapping. Results were recently discussed in O-The Oprah Magazine. Collaborating investigators include researchers at Harvard, Brown, and the University of California Berkeley. The US Environmental Protection Agency recognized the research with an Environmental Merit Award in 2000. Brody presented one of the Distinguished Lectures at the National Cancer Institute in 2002. Her ongoing research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others; and she has published in high-impact scientific journals, including American Journal of Public Health, Cancer, and Environmental Health Perspectives. She serves as an advisor to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers, and the Breast Cancer Fund.

 

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Kenneth Cook

Ken Cook is president and founder of the Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG is a public interest research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. Mr. Cook and EWG’s research and analysis are major forces in national policy debates over toxic chemicals, pesticides, air and water pollution, and the ecological impacts of modern agriculture.

Mr. Cook earned his B.A. (history), B.S. (agriculture), and M.S. (soil science) degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a board member of The Organic Center and the Amazon Conservation Team. He is married to Deb Callahan and lives in Bethesda, MD.


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Leslie Davis

Leslie Davis was appointed president of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in September 2004. Ms. Davis has an extensive career in health care spanning over 20 years and has held prominent positions at medical centers including Mt. Sinai Medical Center (New York), Thomas Jefferson University, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Tenet Pennsylvania (Graduate Hospital). Ms. Davis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and master’s degree in health and social policy from Harvard University.

 

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Alan Greene, MD 

Dr. Greene is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, an Attending Physician at Packard Children's Hospital and on the board of directors of Healthy Child Healthy World, the Organic Center, and the Society for Participatory Medicine. He is the author of many popular health and parenting books including Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green.

He has been featured in the New York Times and has appeared on CNN, The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NBC Evening News, and the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Greene was honored as one of “the 100 most creative and influential innovators working in health care today” and was named the Children’s Health Hero of the Internet by Intel. He is the Founder of the pioneering consumer health Web site, DrGreene.com that has touched millions of lives since its inception in 1995.

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Patricia Hunt, PhD

Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., is a Meyer Distinguished Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. Her research focuses on mammalian reproduction, but includes chromosome structure and function, human infertility, and the effect of environmental toxins on reproduction. Her research has been described in articles appearing both in print (e.g., The Washington Post, L.A. Times, USA Today) and radio/television (e.g., NPR, CBS). In 2007, she was named one of the top 50 researchers of the year by Scientific American. Dr. Hunt’s work on human eggs has provided valuable new information about the effect of maternal age on the genetic quality of human eggs. Dr. Hunt’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years, and she is currently supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She participates in professional activities at the local, national, and international level, including service on editorial boards of several journals, NIH review panels and strategic planning groups, organizing and chairing international conferences, and testifying before state legislative panels.

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Lisa P. Jackson

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson leads U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to protect the health and environment for all Americans. She and a staff of more than 17,000 professionals are working across the nation to usher in a green economy, address health threats from toxins and pollution, and renew public trust in EPA’s work.

As Administrator, Jackson has pledged to focus on core issues of protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination in our communities, and reducing greenhouse gases. She has promised that all of EPA’s efforts will follow the best science, adhere to the rule of law, and be implemented with unparalleled transparency.

Jackson is the first African-American to serve as EPA Administrator. She has made it a priority to focus on vulnerable groups including children, the elderly, and low-income communities that are particularly susceptible to environmental and health threats. In addressing these and other issues, she has promised all stakeholders a place at the decision-making table.

Before becoming EPA’s Administrator, Jackson served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and Commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Prior to joining DEP, she worked for 16 years as an employee of the U.S. EPA.

Jackson is a summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University and earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. She was born in Pennsylvania and grew up a proud resident of New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Bruce Lourie 

Bruce is one of Canada’s leading environmental thinkers and co-author of the best selling book Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things. He is President of Ivey Foundation, a private charitable foundation in Canada, a Director of the Ontario Power Authority and a Director of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. Bruce is a founder of a number of for profit and nonprofit organizations including Summerhill Group, a prominent market transformation consultancy in Toronto; the Sustainability Network, Canada’s leading environmental non-profit capacity building organization; Enerquality Corporation; and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network. He is a member of the Ontario Premier's Climate Change Advisory Panel and has acted on numerous federal, provincial and municipal bodies advising on energy policy and climate issues. He was the founding Executive Director of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance and the founding  President of the Clean Air Foundation. He Chaired the Board of Environmental Defence Canada for seven years and sat on the Trillium Foundation Board for five years. Bruce has degrees in Geology, Environmental Studies and a near-complete doctorate.

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John Peterson Myers, PhD

Dr. John Peterson “Pete” Myers is founder, CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, a not-for-profit organization that promotes public understanding of the science underpinnings of two of today’s great environmental challenges: environmental health and climate. As publisher of Environmental Health News and Daily Climate, Myers uses advanced web tools to help reporters, policy experts, scientists and advocates stay apace with rapid changes in scientific understanding of these two fields, with a special emphasis on what those changes mean for people.

After fifteen years in basic research and a three-year stint as Senior Vice-President of National Audubon, beginning in 1990 Myers served for a dozen years as Director of the W. Alton Jones Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia. He holds a doctorate in the biological sciences from UC Berkeley and a BA from Reed College.

Along with co-authors Dr. Theo Colborn and Dianne Dumanoski, Myers wrote “Our Stolen Future,” a groundbreaking book (1996) that explored the scientific basis of concern for how environmental chemical contamination threatens growth and development, sometimes with life-long consequences. The book stimulated enormous research investments by governments around the world to confirm or refute the impact of endocrine-disrupting contaminants on health. Those investments have led to a now-unfolding scientific revolution that is revealing unexpected ways to protect people’s health and prevent diseases once thought unpreventable.

Myers currently serves on the boards of the John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, the Science Communication Network and the Jenifer Altman Foundation.


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Jeanne Rizzo, RN 

Jeanne Rizzo’s vision guided the Breast Cancer Fund to adopt its bold breast cancer prevention mission: to identify and advocate for the elimination of the environmental and other preventable causes of the disease. Under her leadership the organization has become a national leader in translating the growing body of scientific evidence linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into strategic policy initiatives.

The scientific evidence is presented in landmark science reports, State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment (in its fifth edition; also published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health), and The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know, What We Need to Know, by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.

Ms. Rizzo guides current strategic policy initiatives to reduce our exposure to bisphenol A and to address the safety of personal care products. Recent victories include the passage of federal legislation banning toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer from children’s toys, and California laws that created the first statewide biomonitoring program and advanced the safety of cosmetic products.

Ms. Rizzo is a founding partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. She serves on the Council of the California Breast Cancer Research Program and is a Public Interest Partner of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science. A nurse, then an award-winning music, theater and film producer, she produced the documentary Climb Against the Odds: Mt. McKinley.
 

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Joel Schwartz, PhD

Joel Schwartz PhD is Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. His work has been instrumental in the removal of lead from gasoline, and the setting of particulate air pollution standards around the world. In 1991 Dr. Schwartz, then with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was the first federal employee to receive the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Award. He was recognized for identifying lead in gasoline as a health risk for millions of people and for supplying enough evidence to ban the chemical in gas in the U.S. 

Schwartz’s work tightened federal clean-air standards and improved compliance within industry. In addition to his research into lead, he was among the first to link elevated death rates to particulates of sulfur from coal-burning power plants and black carbon from motor-vehicle exhaust. Particulates are minute particles in air pollution that kill at least 100,000 people every year in the United States alone. 

Dr. Schwartz’s current research interests include epidemiology studies on the health consequences of lead and other heavy metals, water and air pollutants, studies of gene-environment interactions, effects of ultrafine particulates and antioxidants on respiratory health, and the use of cost benefit analysis to make environmental decisions.

Dr. Schwartz received his PhD (1980) from Brandeis University.

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Rick Smith


Rick Smith is a prominent Canadian author and environmentalist. He is Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada and co-author, with Bruce Lourie, of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things, a surprising look at common pollutants and the ease with which they accumulate in the human body. To illustrate this issue Smith and Lourie experimented on their own bodies, raising and lowering levels of toxic chemicals in their blood and urine through the performance of ordinary activities. A major Canadian bestseller, the book was recently released in the US and has already been featured by the Washington Post (which said it “is hard-hitting in a way that turns your stomach and yet also instills hope”), Dr. Oz, and Oprah Magazine.

With a Ph.D. in biology and a stint as Chief of Staff to one of Canada’s major political parties, Smith’s career has been equal parts science and policy. He is regarded as one of the country’s leading environmental campaigners and has spearheaded efforts to achieve important new environmental and health protections such as Canada’s first federal Endangered Species Act; the world’s largest Greenbelt, now enacted around Toronto; and Canada’s recent decisions to ban the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles (becoming the first country in the world to do so), restrict the use of siloxanes in personal care products, and get hormone-disrupting flame retardants out of consumer electronics.

Smith lives in Toronto with his wife and their two young sons.
 

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Beverly Wright, PhD


 

Dr. Beverly Wright, environmental justice scholar and activist is the founder of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice currently at Dillard University in New Orleans. The Center addresses environmental and health inequities along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and is a community/university partnership providing education, training, and job placement. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Center has focused largely on research, policy, community outreach, assistance, and the education of displaced African-American residents of New Orleans.

Dr. Wright is currently the co-chair of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Taskforce for New Orleans Mayor-Elect Mitch Landrieu’s transition team. She has served on the Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Advisory Board, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Affairs’ Brownfields Consortium, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the New Orleans’ Select Committee for the Sewerage and Water Board, chaired the 2002 Second National People of Color Leadership Summit, and currently co-chairs the Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative, is a member of the Commission Delegation to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change (COP15) and serves as the president of the African American Women of Purpose and Power in New Orleans. Dr. Wright received the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award in 2006, the 2008 EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition 2008 Community Award, the Ford Motor Company’s Freedom’s Sisters Award in July of 2009 as well as the prestigious 2009 Heinz Award.


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