March 2022

Dear EHS Family,

Spring is nearly upon us, and I am more than ready for the warmer weather that is to come. The month of February came and went quickly, it's so hard to believe we are already approaching the middle of the semester! As always, our department has been working hard and achieving so much, and I am excited to welcome new faces and share some incredible highlights and announcements with you all.

I would like to wish all of our students the very best of luck on their upcoming midterms, and I hope everyone enjoys a well-deserved Spring break holiday! As always, be safe, stay healthy, and we look forward to sharing more news with you soon.


Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, MPH
Leon Hess Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental Health Sciences

EHS Highlights

Introducing New EHS Staff

Name: Anastassia Amato-La Hoz 
Role: Assistant to the Chair
Background: Anastassia graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Coastal Environmental Studies, and has a strong interest in Environmental Justice. Anastassia loves Garfield and coffee, and tries to visit new coffee shops on the weekends. She is honored to become a part of the EHS family!


Name: Erica Tyler 
Role: EHS Communications and Marketing Coordinator 
Background: Prior to joining the team, Erica worked in the marketing department at Wor-Wic Community College in Maryland. During her tenure at Wor-Wic, a number of her marketing projects received national awards from Higher Ed Marketing and the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. Erica earned an MS in Management with a concentration in Marketing from Wilmington University.


Career Mode Program

Join the first cohort! Applications due 3/15!

The Career MODE Program is still accepting applications through March 15, 2022! This supplementary training program invites early-career investigators from any institution to apply to join the inaugural cohort that will begin in May 2022. The program provides diverse biomedical investigators with crucial professional research, leadership, and grant writing skills, hand-selected mentors, and networking opportunities to foster their pathways to independence using omics and data sciences. Mailman has spotlighted this new program in a write up here.







Climate-Smart Health Care Grand Round Series

The five part virtual grand round series kicked off on January 27th, 2022 with Part 1 - Climate, Health Care and the Race to Zero: A Call to Action. Gary Cohen, the president and founder of Health Care Without Harm, was joined by Dr. Beth Schenk and Dr. Rengaraj Venkatesh, sustainability leaders from Providence and Aravind Eye Care System.

Gary highlighted how the Global Roadmap for Health Care Decarbonization can help the sector meet the goals of the Race to Zero - to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve NetZero emissions by 2050 - and why clinician leadership is critical in meeting this goal.  Dr. Schnek discussed Providence’s commitment to become carbon negative by 2030 using their WE ACT framework, and Dr. Dr. Venkatesh shared the inspirational story of Aravind Eye Hospital’s low-carbon eye care system and how they are challenging conventions about surgery and demonstrating that surgery’s climate footprint can be decreased by focusing on patient-centered care, efficiency and decreasing waste - without compromising quality. 

You can access the video recording of Part 1 here. 

The upcoming session "Part 2 - Clinical Leaders as Drivers of Sustainability: A Physician-Researcher Perspective" is on March 16th at 11am EST.  For more information, including registration details, please go here.






Registration is now open for EHS' SHARP Program! These 2-3 day short, intensive boot camps are led by field experts to teach in-demand research skills and methods to investigators at all career levels and from any organization. SHARP continues to grow this summer with new topics in SQL and Climate and Health, with all 20 trainings being offered virtually.


Please join me in congratulating Dr. Gary Miller, who has recently joined the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC). NAEHSC is a Congressionally mandated body that advises the secretary of HHS, the director of NIH, and the director of NIEHS on matters relating to the direction of research, research support, training, and career development supported by NIEHS. 

Dr. Miller was also one of five Columbia faculty members recently elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which is the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society, for his contributions to science, teaching, and research.  

Congratulations, Dr. Miller, on these well-deserved honors!

Frontiers in Public Health: Call for Papers!

Climate and Health Education: Defining the Needs of Society in a Changing Climate

The goal of this research topic is to profile case examples, transformational educational initiatives, reviews, and viewpoints that contribute to furthering the design, conduct, and success of educational and training programs that contribute to improving our capacity locally and globally to address the health threats of climate change.

We welcome a broad spectrum of contributions that address:

  • The what, why, and how of climate and health education, which explore examples of defining the needs of society in a changing climate
  • How we can prepare leaders of today and tomorrow to address the needs of society in a changing climate

Submission Deadlines: 

  • August 8, 2022: Abstract 
  • October 9, 2022: Manuscript

Learn more here.

Spotlight Series

EHS Spotlight: Dr. Lewis Ziska

Dr. Lewis Ziska is a plant scientist. So what is he doing in a school of public health?  While not always recognized, plants have a prominent role in affecting public health; and climate change is likely to transform that role. “We take plants for granted” says Ziska, “Yet, they affect the air you breathe, the water you drink, and most importantly, the food you eat.”

 It is the food part that Ziska spends a lot of time on, from understanding how rising levels of carbon dioxide can alter protein content in rice, to how warmer weather can intensify pest pressures and pesticide exposure.  And there’s more, Ziska is studying how climate change and carbon dioxide are altering plant based pollen and subsequent allergies, plant based medicines, and the virulence of poison ivy. “Plants are the basis of all life”, Ziska says, “They play a fundamental role in human existence. It is imperative we understand how they are being impacted by carbon dioxide and climate change, and the subsequent consequences for human existence”.

EHS in the News


Norman Kleiman, Christine Kuryla
Omicron’s long COVID is a risk not worth taking

The Daily News recently reported on the latest COVID-19 omicron surge and how the US's lessening public concern about health risks could lead to an abundance of long COVID in the spring. They advocate that "we need to remain conscientious and aware of the potential long-term risks posed by omicron infection" and "long COVID should become a larger part of the current debate about health risks versus the need to return to normalcy."  

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, Frederica Perera
Evaluating the Impact of the Clean Heat Program on Air Pollution Levels in New York City

Drs. Kioumourtzoglou and Perera were featured in the NIEHS February Papers of the Month. Researchers provided a framework for evaluating the air quality benefits of a policy banning a type of heating oil in NYC. According to the team, the significant reductions in particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide resulting from the ban will likely lead to potential health benefits and improve population health outcomes in NYC.


Papers of the Month

Take a minute to read one of the many fantastic publications by our faculty, students, and staff. Faculty names are bolded:

Mixed metals exposure and cognitive function in Bangladeshi adolescents.
Saxena R, Gamble M, Wasserman GA, Liu X, Parvez F, Navas-Acien A, Islam T, Factor-Litvak P, Uddin MN, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Gibson EA, Shahriar H, Slavkovich V, Ilievski V, LoIacono N, Balac O, Graziano JH. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2022 Mar 1;232:113229.  

Prenatal phthalates, gestational weight gain, and long-term weight changes among Mexican women.
Deierlein AL, Wu H, Just AC, Kupsco AJ, Braun JM, Oken E, Soria-Contreras DC, Cantoral A, Pizano ML, McRae N, Téllez-Rojo MM, Wright RO, Baccarelli AA. Environ Res. 2022 Jan 29;209:112835. 

Understanding the Role of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Stress in the Association between Proximity to the World Trade Center Disaster and Birth Outcomes.
Spratlen MJ, Perera FP, Sjodin A, Wang Y, Herbstman JB, Trasande L. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 11;19(4):2008.