Environmental Justice Boot Camp: Theory and Methods to Study Environmental Health Disparities

August 15-16, 2024 | Hybrid training at Harvard Chan School in Boston

Environmental Justice Boot Camp

Join us for the next Environmental Justice Boot Camp on August 15-16, 2024 at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA. Register below!

The Environmental Justice Boot Camp is a two-day intensive course featuring seminars and applied analytical sessions on key concepts, exposure assessment techniques, epidemiologic methods, community engagement and health policy applications, and statistical analytic approaches for conducting effective and solution-driven environmental justice research. 

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Jump to:  Overview  |  Prerequisites  |  R tutorials  |  Instructors  |  Scholarships  |  Locations  | Testimonials | Registration Fees  |  Additional Information

Boot Camp Overview

Summer 2024 dates: Hybrid training (In-person at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA and simultaneous livestream for remote attendees) August 15-16; 9am EDT - ~5pm EDT.

Numerous studies have documented socially-patterned disparities in adverse health outcomes, ranging from an increased prevalence of asthma, obesity, pregnancy complications, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Research shows that environmental factors, such as water, air, metals, chemicals, food, housing, and geography contribute to these disparate health outcomes. However, training is limited in how to ask informed research questions and design effective studies to evaluate environmental health disparities. To identify solutions for environmental injustice, environmental health scientists must integrate and understand the social, behavioral, and political drivers of exposure and disease disparities. We will address this training gap by coupling multi-disciplinary concepts with the use of appropriate epidemiologic, exposure assessment, and statistical analytic techniques that employ sociological constructs and theories for effective environmental justice research.

This two-day boot camp will provide environmental health scientists with training in environmental justice research. The boot camp’s multi-disciplinary approach will cover the steps involved in conducting informed, effective, and solution-driven environmental justice and health disparities research. Our team consists of scientists with over 30 years of combined research in the fields of environmental health, sociology, epidemiology, health policy, community engagement, and biostatistics. Lectures will cover key concepts, frameworks, and methods for conducting environmental justice research. We will then build on this knowledge with hands-on learning experiences from case studies that allow participants to apply real-world datasets to address key research questions in environmental health and health disparities using exposure assessment techniques, epidemiologic methods, and analytic approaches, such as interaction and mediation. Please note: while community-based participatory research methods are important for EJ research, we are unable to cover them in-depth during this training.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Key concepts of environmental justice and health disparities
  • Epidemiologic conceptual framework
  • Study design advantages and challenges
  • Data collection, questionnaire design, and measurement error
  • Data analysis: basics of interaction and mediation
  • Emerging topics and methods in environmental justice research

Audience and Requirements

Investigators from any institution and from all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees and early-stage investigators to participate. There are two requirements to attend this training:

  1. Basic familiarity with R is recommended to get the most out of the Boot Camp. If you have not used this platform before or need a refresher, step through the tutorials outlined below so you have the basic skills needed for Boot Camp success.
  2. Each participant is required to have a personal laptop/computer and a free, basic Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud) account. All lab sessions will be done using Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud).

R Tutorials

As noted in the requirements above, knowing basic R platform and commands is recommended for the Boot Camp in order to get the most out of the training. If you are new to R or need a refresher, review the below tutorials to be well prepared for the labs:

If you have any specific questions about R and R studio in the context of the Environmental Justice Boot Camp, please email us.


Summer 2024 instructing team is being finalized, more instructors to come!

Training Co-Director: Joan Casey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington.

Training Co-Director: Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Gary Adamkiewicz, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental Health and Exposure Disparities, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Andrea Bellavia, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and TIMI Study Group, Harvard Medical School.

Gaurab Basu, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Education and Policy at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, John Rock Professor of Climate and Population Studies and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Natalie Slopen, ScD, Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Vernon K. Walker, MTS, anticipated Master's in public policy degree by June 2024 at Tufts University, Climate Justice Program Director, Clean Water Action.


Training scholarships are available for the Environmental Justice Boot Camp.


Summer 2024: The Environmental Justice Boot Camp will be a hybrid setup with an in-person training taking place at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA (677 Huntington Avenue) and simultaneously livestreamed for remote attendees on August 15-16, 2024. Please note this training is not a self-paced, pre-recorded online training. All training start and end times are in EDT.

Boston Hotels: Boston has a wide variety of lodging options. The Hilton Garden Inn Boston Brookline has a hotel block that offers discounted rates for workshop participants ($279/night valid for up to 3 nights from check-in on 8/14/24 and check out 8/17/24) while supply lasts through July 17, 2024. The Hilton Garden is a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute drive to the Chan School. To book a room in the Harvard EJ Boot Camp hotel block, please use this booking link before July 17, 2024.


"Excellent training on the past, present, and future of EJ research with participants and instructors from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. I would highly recommend this training for anyone who has been working in the EJ field for years, as well as those who are new to the field." - Faculty member at Chapman University, 2023

"This course will teach you how to integrate EJ principles into your work. Whether you are interested in geospatial analyses, implementation science, causal inference, community-engaged research, or science communication this course has something for everyone." - Graduate student researcher at New York University Langone Health, 2023

"I absolutely enjoyed the training. I found all the topics really insightful. It was a great balance of Environmental Justice research and quantitative data analysis. Thank you." - Staff member at Air Alliance Houston, 2023

"The training was indeed thought-provoking and ranks among the best I have attended in the past few years. This 2-day course covered all the topics I was hoping for, and even more that I had not anticipated. The instructors provided a step-by-step, hands-on tutorial on the thought process for identifying Environmental Justice questions and finding appropriate methods to address them. I was also impressed by an invited speaker's talk on how they have actively used their research to influence policies throughout their career." - Postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School, 2023

Additional Testimonials

"Excellent review of EJ core concepts. Advanced my confidence in performing EJ relevant analyses!" - Student at the Department of Health, 2022

"The training gave a comprehensive overview of the history of the environmental justice movement and different approaches for performing EJ research. The topics cover almost every aspect of the process from finding a problem to implementing interventions while providing networking opportunities with classmates and experts in the field." - Staff member at RTI International, 2022

"The training was a great crash course into environmental justice and health research. It provided excellent resources that I know I will continue to reference throughout my career." - Student at Vanderbilt University, 2022

"The Environmental Justice Bootcamp brought together an outstanding lineup of leaders and experts and provided a comprehensive overview of environmental justice concepts and methods for environmental health researchers." - Postdoc at the NIH, 2022

"Overall outstanding. An opportunity for new EJ scholars to meet researchers, practitioners, and activists at all stages of their careers. I have gained new resources and methods to bolster my EJ research." - Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, 2022

"I was amazed at how effectively the EJ Bootcamp covered both academic issues (i.e., methodological issues in quantitative EJ research) and translation, communication, and implementation. The training felt very grounded and as someone who is still very earl in my career, I came away feeling more knowledgeable about EJ research topics and methods and empowered to pursue research questions related to environmental justice." - Academic staff member at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2021

This was an invaluable experience to reorientate myself to the environmental justice field. I learned a lot about what tools and skills are being used and how to apply them from people at the forefront of the science. - Julia L., Faculty member at DePaul University, 2021

This workshop was an excellent opportunity to hear perspectives from a diverse group of researchers and learn practical tools and methods to apply to EJ projects. - Sheila T., Postdoc at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, 2021

The variety of speakers, technical tutorials, and meet & greets was very well thought out. - Postdoc at University of California San Francisco, 2021

I am new to EJ issues and this was a perfect foundational training that included an introduction to many different topics including the history of EJ and exposure science research, social determinants of health, and environmental racism. The training was organized with excellent speakers --- 100% recommend! I want to attend again!  - Postdoc at University of Pittsburgh, 2021

Awesome training. This definitely shifted my perspective about data analysis for environmental justice. - Postdoc at NIH/NIEHS, 2021

A delve into environmental justice, including the social constructs behind it and hands on applications of analytical tools to consider EJ. A really practical and inspiring 2 day course course taught by leading experts in the field- highly recommended! - Lara S., Student at University of California, San Diego, 2021

Amazing training! I feel like I came away with so many new and exciting ideas for my research and the resources to tackle the data in my research project in new ways. - Zoe H., Student at New York University, 2021


Registration Fees

This is a hybrid training, meaning attendees can choose to attend the boot camp either 1) in-person in Boston or 2) virtually livestream via Zoom. Fees in the table below are in-person costs. Virtual registration fees are $145 less.

  • In-Person Registration Fee includes course material, breakfast, and lunch on training days. An optional "Meet and Greet" will be held the evening of the first day of the training on August 15th. Course material will be available to all attendees during and after the workshop. Lodging and transportation are not included.
  • Virtual Registration Fee includes course material, which will be made available to all participants both during and after the conclusion of the training.  
  Early-Bird Rate (through 6/10/24)* Regular Rate (6/11/24 - 8/8/24)* Columbia Discount**
Student/Postdoc/Trainee      $595 $695 10%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations/Government Agencies  $695 $795 10%
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations $895 $995 NA


*Virtual Livestream Fee: Fees in the table above are in-person costs. Those attending virtually livestream via zoom instead of in-person on campus will pay a reduced registration fee by $145 for each category. Pricing will be reflected during the registration process based on category and time of registration.

**Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. If paying by credit card, use your Columbia email address during the registration process to automatically have the discount applied. If paying by internal transfer within Columbia, submit this Columbia Internal Transfer Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.

Invoice Payment: If you would prefer to pay by invoice/check, please submit this Invoice Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the training start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the training will receive a 75% refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to ColumbiaSHARP.EJ@gmail.com. Due to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations <14 days prior to the training.

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to ColumbiaSHARP.EJ@gmail.com. In the event Columbia must cancel the event, your registration fee will be fully refunded.

Additional Information


The Environmental Justice Boot Camp is hosted by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health's SHARP Program, the Columbia NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM), the Harvard Chan NIEHS Center for Environmental Health, the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, the UCSF EaRTH Center, and the University of Washington’s Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics, and Environment (EDGE).

Jump to:  Overview  |  Prerequisites  |  R tutorials  |  Instructors  |  Scholarships  |  Locations  | Testimonials | Registration Fees  |  Additional Information