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Elena Craft

Elena Craft

President and CEO

Dr. Elena Craft has over two decades of experience in expert scientific research and communication of science to inform important public health decisions. Trained as a toxicologist at Duke University, she has conducted research on air toxics exposures and effects, published her work in a wide range of scientific journals, and communicated her and others’ science to diverse audiences. In her role as Associate Vice President of the Environmental Defense Fund, she built and led a multidisciplinary team of 20 experts producing science and using it to inform decisions to reduce environmental exposures and improve public health.  

Her many contributions include:

  • Initiating and leading a partnership with Port Houston and other local agencies to secure nearly $10 million in federal funding to reduce air pollution through the replacement of aging vehicles with cleaner models
  • Enabling public officials to identify toxicological exposures from large releases of air pollution (e.g., from hurricanes and other natural disasters interfering with operation of major chemical facilities)
  • Supporting city, county, and state agencies in their use of mobile monitoring instruments to provide rapid and precise information on public health risks for emergency responders and people living near oil refineries, chemical plants, and other potential sources of toxic contamination
  • Helping a historically Black neighborhood along the Houston Ship Channel to purchase and install a large community-owned and -managed network of air quality monitors, one of the largest in the State of Texas

Dr. Craft is an adjunct assistant professor of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, has a similar appointment at Texas A&M University, and is a Kinder fellow at Rice University. She is a former member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mobile Sources Technical Advisory Committee and has served on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board Environmental Justice Technical Review Panel. She has presented her research and findings in local, state, and national forums.  

Dr. Craft holds a BS degree in biology from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, an MS degree in toxicology from North Carolina State University, and a PhD from Duke University.