Summit on Child Thriving and Environmental Justice

Held Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

This summit brought together TPS partners and new collaborators to discuss challenges and initiatives in our communities around child thriving, environmental justice, and health equity.

The summit focused on three topics: local efforts to prevent children from experiencing the health problems associated with heavy metal exposures; the relationships between air quality and asthma risks; and new recognition of trees and the important roles they play in making communities healthier, safer, and more beautiful.

Participants included scientists, clinicians, care providers, advocates, parents, grandparents, and interested community members. What we all have in common is shared interests in improving child health and well-being and working towards health equity and racial justice.

The Summit on Child Thriving and Environmental Justice occurred on Dec. 2nd. Artifacts from the summit are linked below in the respective Summit Agenda items. We are thrilled to share these presentations and look forward to ongoing conversations and action steps.

Summit Agenda

9:00: The Summit Convenes! Moderated by Cheryl Hall-Russell, PhD

9:10 – 9:55: Pittsburgh Study Committee Reports

View the Presentation Slides

10:00: Introduction by Jamil Bey, PhD

10:05-10:30: How Air Quality Affects Asthma Risks in Children

  • Germaine Gooden-Patterson, Community Health Worker, Women for a Healthy Environment: A Mother’s Experience with her Children’s Asthma
  • Anjani Ravindra, MD, Physician, UPMC: A Clinicians’ View of Asthma and Air Pollution, and an Agenda for a Better Future
  • Deborah Gentile, MD, Physician, Researcher and Advocate: Research on Asthma and Air Quality
  • Matt Mehalik, PhD, Executive Director of the Breathe Collaborative: Organizing in Response to Current and Future Threats to Air Quality
View the Presentation Slides

10:35-11:00: Preventing Exposure to Heavy Metals

  • Jerry Vockley, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Children’s: Initiative to Screen Newborns for Heavy Metals
  • LuAnn Brink, PhD, Allegheny County Health Department: Prevalence of Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Allegheny County and Protocols for Follow-Up
  • Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis and Talor Musil, Women for a Healthy Environment: “Get the Lead Out, Pittsburgh!” Campaign
View the Presentation Slides

11:00-11:25: Trees as Public Health Infrastructure

  • Jamil Bey, PhD, UrbanKind Institute: The Trust Trees Initiative: how increasing the tree canopy aligns with many community-identified goals and priorities
  • Isabela Angelelli, MD, University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Children’s and Tree Pittsburgh: The Science of Trees and Public Health
  • Clara Kitongo, MSPPM, Tree Pittsburgh: The One Tree Per Child Initiative
View the Presentation Slides

11:30-12:00: Breakout sessions on how to contribute to ongoing efforts

(Choose one and bring your questions!)

  • Air Quality and Asthma Risks
  • Prevention of Exposures to Heavy Metals
  • Trees as Public Health Infrastructure

Times are approximate and brief breaks will be offered between sessions.