CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS 2021

Dr. Star Berry is the Program Manager for Nature and Health. Star's research and community work applies critical pedagogy, Indigenous Feminism, and diversity, equity, and inclusion into community organizing and practice. Contact her at natureandhealth@uw.edu

Dr. Gregory Bratman's work takes place at the nexus of psychology, public health and ecology, and is focused on investigating the ways in which the environment is associated with human well-being. He takes both empirical and theoretical approaches to understand how nature experience impacts cognitive function, mood, and emotion regulation, with an emphasis on people living in urban environments. He has also published reviews about the impacts of the environment on mental health, informed methods for integrating these effects into ecosystem service studies, and proposed ways in which this science can be put into practice to address health inequities that are disproportionately experienced by underserved communities. Dr. Bratman is the Doug Walker Endowed Professor at The University of Washington and a JPB Environmental Health Fellow through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Sara Breslow is an environmental anthropologist and transdisciplinarian interested in collaborating across the sciences, arts, and humanities and partnering with local communities to address complex challenges in the human-nature relationship. She has worked to develop foundational concepts, build institutional capacity, and promote policies that advance sustainability and social justice in a variety of positions locally and abroad, including at UW Nature and Health, UW EarthLab, NOAA, IPBES, the Western Governors’ Association, The Puget Sound Partnership, and The Nature Conservancy. Sara holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s in biology from Swarthmore College.

Dr. Howard Frumkin, 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. He is the author or co-author of over 250 scientific journal articles and chapters, and his nine books include Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-Being, and Sustainability (Island Press, 2011), Environmental Health: From Global to Local (Jossey-Bass, 3rd Edition 2016), and Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves (Island Press, 2020).  He was educated at Brown (A.B.), the University of Pennsylvania (M.D.), and Harvard (M.P.H. and Dr.P.H.).  He is an avid cyclist, paddler, and hiker.  He is married to global health journalist Joanne Silberner, and has two children, Gabe, an attorney, and Amara, a physician. 

Dr. Josh Lawler, Director of Nature and Health, is an ecologist driven by applied conservation questions and their real-world applications, with a focus on climate change and land-use change. His work explores how climate change affects animals and plants as well as the ways that human health, climate, and the environment are connected.

Martin LeBlanc is Principal of LBC Action, a strategic planning, public policy, and fundraising Firm. Martin is a specialist with two decades of experience helping organizations expand their impact. Most recently, LeBlanc served as the Managing Director of Innovation at Sixkiller Consulting LLC, a Washington, DC based strategic advisory firm. In 2014, he created the No Child Left Inside Alliance, a coalition of nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies that successfully advocated to establish a $2 million program focused on outdoor education and recreation programs. With the support of the Obama Administration, LeBlanc brought together diverse stakeholders to launch Fresh Tracks, a shared leadership experience for young adults from Compton, California and Alaska Native Communities. Fresh Tracks culminated in a December 2016 roundtable on Outdoor, Youth, and Diversity convened in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

Dr. Usha Varanasi was the science and research director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center from 1994-2010, where she was the first woman to lead a fisheries field office. She also served from 2004-2010 as the director of NOAA’s Westcoast Center of Excellence for Ocean and Human Health which was dedicated to studying and informing policymakers how the degradation of oceans and aquatic ecosystems can affect the health and well-being of people. Currently, as the College of the Environment Distinguished Scholar in Residence, she is interested in the projects on the boundary of science and policy that define and encourage positive engagement of people with nature.

Dr. Sean M. Watts is the owner of SM Watts Consulting, LLC – empowering communities to drive environmental and land use policy and helping traditional conservation and environmental organizations move from awareness to action on diversity, equity and inclusion. He has spent his career seeking environmental solutions that yield the greatest human and ecological benefits. Most recently, as Director of Community Partnerships for the Seattle Parks Foundation, he created programs to advocate for and build capacity among resident-led groups to enhance open space in Seattle. He has worked to bridge gaps between science, policy and society as faculty at Santa Clara University; as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation and as founding Director of the University of Washington, Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. Sean received his BA in Biology from the University of Virginia; and PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. Kathleen Wolf is a Research Social Scientist at the College of the Environment, University of Washington. Based on theory and methods of environmental psychology, Dr. Wolf's research explores human response to outdoor spaces in cities. Kathy's mission is to discover, understand and communicate human behavior and benefits, as people experience nature in cities and towns. She was a research associate with the US Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station from 2010-2018 working on studies of social dimensions of urban ecosystems. And she has also worked professionally as a landscape architect and as an environmental planner. Moreover, Kathy is interested in how scientific information can be integrated into local government policy and planning. She is/has served with national organizations that promote nature-based health and quality of life in cities, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Sustainable Sites Initiative, the American Planning Association, the TKF Foundation, American Forests and Transportation Research Board national committee on Landscape and Environment. Kathy really enjoys planning, then doing, outdoor adventures with her partner and daughter, a wilderness guide in Alaska. You can view Dr. Wolf's research at www.naturewithin.info; and the Green Cities: Good Health project at: www.greenhealth.washington.edu