Climate Change, Health, and Social Justice Lecture Series Speakers

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Bruce Bekkar, MD is a women’s health physician, author, and educator who has been engaged with the climate crisis since 2007. As a full-time activist since 2013, he serves on ecoAmerica’s Climate Leadership Circle, is Chair of the Public Health Advisory Council of the Climate Action Campaign and serves on its Board of Directors, and works with non-profits including The Climate Reality Project, the American Lung Association and Environment America. A writer and frequent speaker on climate and health, Dr. Bekkar has addressed the California State Senate Environment Committee, the American Meteorological Society, Genentech, Citizens Climate Lobby and US House of Representatives Democratic Caucus. He recently shared original research on the risks of the climate crisis to pregnancy in the US at national meetings of the American Public Health Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology; the results were published in JAMA Network Open June 18, 2020.

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Aparna Bole, MD, is Medical Director of Community Integration at University Hospital Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She is particularly interested in the intersection between environmental sustainability and pediatric public health. She serves as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health and as co‐chair of the Healthcare Without Harm board of directors. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Swetland Center for Environmental Health at CWRU, a member of the Trust for Public Land’s Ohio advisory committee, a member of the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition’s steering committee and the State of Ohio’s Lead Advisory Council, and is a founding advisory council member of the Ohio Clinicians for Climate Action.

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Lori Byron, MD, of Hardin Montana, practiced pediatrics for 27 years on the Crow Indian Reservation. Now retired from Indian Health Service, she continues to work as a Pediatric Hospitalist at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Montana and works largely on environmental issues. She co-chairs the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Health Team and chairs the Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate. She is on the Children’s Health Advisory Committee to the EPA and the Executive Committee of the Environmental Health Council at the American Academy of Pediatrics. She recently earned a MS in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins.

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Robert Byron, MD, MPH, is an internist who lives in Hardin, Montana, where he practiced for over two decades on the Crow Indian Reservation. A founding member of the Bighorn Valley Health Center, a federally-qualified health center in eastern Montana, he is also former governor for the Montana Chapter of the American College of Physicians. He co-chairs the Citizens Climate Lobby Health Team and is a member of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. He is a strong advocate for addressing climate change with emphasis on the public health and environmental justice aspects.

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Nathaniel DeNicola, MD, MSHP is a board-certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist with Caduceus Medical Group. For the past five years, he has worked on health policy in Washington, DC where he holds a joint appointment with Johns Hopkins Medicine.  Dr. DeNicola is a national leader on emerging telehealth policy and serves the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as the Chair of Telehealth.  In the area of environmental health policy, he holds liaison roles with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and the World Health Organization. Dr. DeNicola has held appointments as Senior Fellow at Leonard Davis Institute on Health Economics, the Penn Social Media and Health Innovation Lab, and the Brookings Institute Engelberg Center on Health Care Reform.

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Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, a physician and epidemiologist, is Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington.  Previously he was head of the Our Planet, Our Health initiative at the Wellcome Trust (2018-19), Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health (2010-16), Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005-10), and Professor and Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University (1990-2005).  His career has focused on health aspects of the built environment, climate change, energy policy, nature contact, and sustainability. His community and professional activities have included serving on numerous National Academy of Sciences committees, the board of the Bullitt Foundation, among many other boards and advisory committees related to climate change and health. He is the author or co-author of over 250 scientific journal articles and chapters, and his nine books include Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves (Island Press, 2020).

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Jeremy Hoffman, PhD is the Chief Scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia and Affiliate Faculty in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Hoffman specializes in connecting diverse audiences to their changing planet through interactive media, dynamic exhibitions, and hands-on experiences.

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Emily Senay, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in New York City. She is a clinician at the World Trade Center Health Program, Center of Clinical Excellence. She is former Chair of Sustain Mount Sinai, the executive sustainability committee for Mount Sinai Health System and founder of Clinical Climate Change (, an annual academic conference for allied health professionals in New York City through the Institute for Exposomic Research at ISMMS.  She studies the impact of healthcare delivery on the climate crisis and opportunities for health systems as business entities to reduce their environmental footprints and operational costs. She is teacher and mentor in the medical and graduate schools with specific expertise in the drivers and health impacts of the climate crisis and sustainability practices. Dr. Senay was a broadcast news health and medical correspondent for more than 20 years with CBS News and PBS News. She is a frequently invited speaker and moderator for medical, scientific and lay audiences.