Higher rates of air pollution exposure, worse health effects from climate change and poorer access to clean and safe water are well documented in low-income communities and communities of color. These communities are disproportionately impacted by these environmental health threats relative to the general population.

APHA’s Environment Section works to ensure that everyone in public health can see their role in addressing these health inequities, many of which are perpetuated by environmental injustice.

A social movement launched in the 1980’s, environmental justice is rooted on a set of principles established at the 1991 People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. Globally, leaders in the movement are working to address these health inequities through diverse strategies, including community organizing, policy advocacy and community-academic research initiatives.

To share the challenges and success of this work within public health, the Environment Section and APHA will host Perspectives from California and Flint Michigan for Creating the Healthiest Nation: An Environmental Justice Town Hall on Nov. 11, at APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo. The free session is open to both APHA members and the general public, but registration is required. Simultaneous translation in Spanish will be provided.

Attendees will hear from environmental health and legal experts Diane Takvorian, Arsenio Mataka and Luis Olmedo about how environmental justice groups influenced first-of-their-kind state laws in California and institutionalized policies to recognize the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors, invest in impacted communities and focus on justice. They will also hear from Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the public health pediatrician who brought the drinking water crisis in Flint to national attention and who continues to fight for justice – a story told in her new book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

Those interested in addressing environmental justice through their public health practice and research can read this series of blog posts in anticipation of the townhall shared through the Environment Section. For more information about the event or to engage in the ongoing work of the APHA Environmental Justice Committee, please contact Charles Lee or Natalie Sampson.

Register now for APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo. APHA’s Annual Meeting is the largest annual gathering of public health professionals. Thousands of people attend, and thousands of new scientific papers are presented each year on every public health topic. APHA 2018’s theme, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now” puts health equity at the center of our field’s attention. Learn more and register to attend.