Health Effects Institute Annual Conference 2024

April 28, 2024 to April 30, 2024

This year’s conference was held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel from Sunday, April 28 - Tuesday, April 30. The conference was a great opportunity to hear from air pollution experts from around the world and connect with friends, peers, and colleagues.

This year, we were pleased to feature the following scientific sessions:

  • Optimizing research to support policy development
  • Fueling the energy transition – challenges, opportunities, and implications for human health
  • Health and air quality effects of goods movement in a changing landscape
  • Integrating environmental justice considerations into policy and regulatory decision-making: progress and barriers
  • From atmosphere to health: what does the changing climate mean for air quality management and public health planning?
  • Optimizing Exposure and Health Effects Research to Inform the NAAQS

Thank you to all who attended. 

Access all session recordings 


Agenda at a Glance



Sunday, April 28th

Apr. 28, 2024 - 12:45pm


Conference Opening

Elena Craft, HEI

1:10 PM

What Does the Changing Climate Mean for Air Quality and Public Health Planning and Exposure Mitigation? 

Session chairs: Gregory Wellenius, Boston University School of Public Health, USA and HEI Research Committee and Sara Adar, University of Michigan School of Public Health, USA and HEI Review Committee.

There are a multitude of ways in which air pollution and climate change interact, and attention to the issue from governmental agencies, community groups, and the general public is growing. This session will explore key considerations for air quality and public health planning in the context of a changing climate. Short talks will kick off an interactive discussion on local and national mitigation approaches for exposure reduction and public health planning. Specific topics of interest include interactions between air pollution and climate, smoke from wildfires and prescribed burns, and dust storms.

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1:10 PM Welcome and introduction

1:15 PM Vijendra Ingole, Office for National Statistics, UK: Setting the scene: What do future climate scenarios mean for air quality and health around the world

1:23 PM Makoto Kelp, Stanford University, USA: Fires, Air Quality and Health: Connections between air quality management, public health messaging, and personal interventions

1:31 PM Kenza Khomsi, General Directorate of Climate, Morocco: Sand and dust storms: implications for air quality and climate

1:40 PM Q&A

1:50 PM Panel discussion

Vijendra Ingole, Office for National Statistics, UK 
Makoto Kelp, Stanford University, USA
Kenza Khomsi, General Directorate of Meteorology, Morocco
Alex Ndyabakira, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda
Michelle Bell, Yale University, USA

2:45 PM Closing Remarks

2:55 PM

Announcing Winners of HEI Awards and Fellowships, and Lightning Talks by Winners of the Walter Rosenblith and Jane Warren Awards

Dan Crouse, HEI, Ellen Mantus, HEI

The Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award is given each year to up to two promising researchers at the assistant professor level or equivalent. Applicants of any nationality, and with training and experience in any of the many branches of science relevant to air pollution, are eligible to apply. Winners are selected based on the relevance of the proposed research to HEI’s mission, the scientific merit of the proposed research, and the likelihood of the candidate becoming a leader in the field. This award is named for Professor Walter A. Rosenblith, who served as the first Chair of HEI's Research Committee and then as a member of the HEI Board of Directors. The award supports research projects up to three years in length with a maximum budget of $600k.
HEI’s summer fellowship program aims to encourage undergraduate students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the environmental health sciences to explore research opportunities in this area. The program provides financial support for a 10-week summer fellowship each year and is run in collaboration with the International Society of Exposure Science and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. The fellowship is open to mentors and students based in the United States.

The Jane Warren Award is given to graduate students or postdocs at academic or research institutions in the United States whose research is related to air pollution and health. Winners attend and present at HEI’s Annual Conference. Selection is based on the scientific merit of their research, quality of the submitted abstract, and relevance to HEI’s mission. This award is named in remembrance of Dr. Jane Warren, who joined HEI in the 1980s and led HEI’s scientific activities as Director of Science from 1999 until her retirement in 2008. The award covers travel and conference registration expenses for up to six awardees.

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3:30 PM Break

4:00 PM Poster Session 1

5:30 PM Break

6:00 PM Opening Reception

Beverages, hors d’oeuvres, and socializing 

6:45 PM Conference dinner begins

7:30 PM

Presentation by Jane Golden, Mural Arts Philadelphia

Monday, April 29th

Apr. 29, 2024 - 7:00am

7:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM

Spotlight on Recent HEI Activities and Accomplishments, and a Look at HEI’s Strategic Plan for 2025–2030 

Session chair: Elena Craft, HEI
HEI President, Elena Craft will chair presentations highlighting HEI’s major accomplishments over the last year and provide an overview of HEI’s Strategic Plan for 2025-2030.

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9:00 AM Ellen Mantus, Donna Vorhees, Anna Rosofsky, and Pallavi Pant, HEI: Highlighting progress and accomplishments across HEI Programs

9:30 AM Ellen Mantus, Donna Vorhees, and Pallavi Pant, HEI: Looking ahead: The 2025-2030 Strategic Plan

10:00 AM Discussion

10:30 AM Poster Session 2

11:30 AM Break

11:45 AM Clear Skies Ahead: Progress and Promise in Clean Air Initiatives Around the World

Moderator: Pallavi Pant, HEI
Panelists: Juan Castillo, Pan American Health Organization, Jane Akumu, UN Environment, Karma Yangzom, Asian Development Bank, Nina Renshaw, Clean Air Fund

Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk factor around the world, and results in significant health, economic, and societal impacts. In the last two decades, some countries around the world have made significant progress toward clean air, while others have begun to establish air quality monitoring and management programs. With several pivotal moments for air quality action in 2024, the panel will reflect on the gains made in recent years toward clean air for all and identify windows of opportunity for continued collaboration and engagement.

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12:30 PM Lunch

1:30 PM

Alternative Fuels for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition – Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications for Human Health 

Session chairs: Peter Thorne, University of Iowa, USA and HEI Energy Research Committee, and Heather Holmes, University of Utah, USA and HEI Research Committee.

Transitioning the energy system will require changes across a number of sectors, including energy production and distribution, buildings, land use planning, industry, and transportation. HEI has a longstanding history in assessing the health effects of traffic-related air pollution, as well as an interest in emerging fuels and technologies. This session will explore the topic of alternative fuels in a changing transportation infrastructure, focusing on on-road transportation and the kinds and combinations of fuels (e.g., electricity, biofuels, ethanol, hydrogen) and their inputs that will support an evolving vehicle fleet, including impacts to greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and environmental justice implications.

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1:30 PM Peter Thorne, University of Iowa, USA, and HEI Energy Research Committee: Welcome and introduction

1:35 PM Jonathan Lewis, Clean Air Task Force, USA: Where have we been and where are we going? A historical overview of the transportation and fuel landscape

1:55 PM Vikram Ravi, Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA: Where are we going, what are the implications? Insights from NREL's Resources and Sustainability Group

2:10 PM Valerie Thomas, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA: The future of biofuels as on-road vehicles electrify

2:25 PM Anna Spurlock, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA: Air quality and health implications of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

2:40 PM Panel discussion and Q&A moderated by chairs, featuring speakers above

3:10 PM Heather Holmes, University of Utah, USA, and HEI Research Committee: Wrap up and adjourn

3:15 PM Ice cream social break

3:45 PM

Integrating Environmental Justice Considerations into Policy and Regulatory Decision-Making: Progress and Barriers 

Session chairs: Madeleine Scammell, Boston University, USA and HEI Environmental Justice Oversight Panel, and Neeta Thakur, University of California, San Francisco, USA, HEI Research Committee, and HEI Environmental Justice Oversight Panel.

Following Executive Order 12898 and, more recently, establishment of the Environmental Justice (EJ) 40 initiative under Executive Order 14008, US government agencies have been making efforts to incorporate EJ into their policy and regulatory decision-making. In addition, EJ advocates and advisory groups have pushed for government agencies to integrate EJ into policymaking to address the overlapping environmental and social inequities comprehensively. This session will explore local, state, and federal government agency successes and barriers in integrating EJ into policymaking and regulation and recommended paths forward.

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3:45 PM Madeleine Scammell, Boston University, USA and HEI Environmental Justice Oversight Panel: Introduction

3:50 PM Ana Baptista, The New School and Tishman Environment and Design Center, USA: Leveraging community and academic expertise for environmental justice policy and decision-making

4:05 PM Veronica McBeth, Department of Transportation, USA: Integrating Environmental Justice into USDOT practices and policies

4:20 PM Christopher Frey, EPA ORD, USA and Onyemaechi Nweke, EPA OEJ, USA: Integrating Environmental Justice into USEPA practices and policies

4:40 PM María Belén Power, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, USA, Deneen Simpson, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, USA, and Sofia Owen, Alternatives for Community and Environment, USA

5:10 PM Panel discussion and Q&A moderated by chairs, featuring speakers above.

5:45 PM Free Evening

Tuesday, April 30th

Apr. 30, 2024 - 7:00am

7:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Poster Session 3

10:00 AM Break

10:30 AM

Health and Climate Implications of Transportation of Goods and People in a Changing Landscape

Session chairs: Marianne Hatzopoulou, University of Toronto, Canada and HEI Research Committee, and Ulrike Gehring, Utrecht University, The Netherlands and HEI Review Committee.

Global movement of goods and people is supported by an interconnected transport network across land, water, and air. Even as cargo volumes and miles traveled have increased, modern technologies and fuels have substantially reduced air pollution emissions from transportation. These sources, however, still contribute to locally elevated air pollution levels, often near historically marginalized communities where households may be more susceptible to air pollution-related health effects. This session will discuss the contributions of different modes of transportation to air pollution emissions and their potential effects on air quality and health. Particular attention will be given to large transport infrastructure, airports, ports, and freight distribution centers.

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10:30 AM Marianne Hatzopoulou, University of Toronto, Canada, and HEI Research Committee: Transitioning the long-haul: challenges and opportunities

10:40 AM Matthew Simon, U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center: Air Quality and Climate Implications of Moving Goods and People by Rail

11:00 AM Neelakshi Hudda, Tufts University, USA: Airports and associated issues

11:20 AM Edward Carr, Energy & Environmental Research Associates: Climate and air quality implications of maritime ports and shipping

11:40 AM Anne Goodchild, University of Washington, USA: Building systems of healthy urban goods movement

12:00 PM Q&A and panel discussion with the speakers

12:30 PM Boxed Lunch

1:30 PM

Optimizing Exposure and Health Effects Research to Inform the NAAQS

Session chairs: Armistead Russell, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, and Erika Sasser, US EPA

Since the passage of the US Clean Air Act Amendments, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has had the responsibility every five years to review the available scientific evidence on exposure to, and health effects of, several major air pollutants. This allowed the EPA to determine the proper level to set its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in order to “protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.” This standard-setting process is complex and daunting for early career researchers, in particular. This session illuminates the different ways in which information from studies are extracted for use in NAAQS setting, highlights key gaps in current data, and discusses ways forward to improve usefulness of studies for standard-setting decisions. 

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1:30 PM Erika Sasser, US EPA: NAAQS standard setting process explained and what’s on the horizon?

1:40 PM Evan Coffman and Lars Perlmutt, US EPA: A deeper dive into current gaps in data in studies informing the NAAQS

*Slides included in Sasser file above.*

2:10 PM Joshua Apte, Uni*versity of California, Berkeley, USA: Optimizing Exposure Assessment for Policy Decisions

2:30 PM Rachel Nethery, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA: Designing epidemiological studies to inform the NAAQS: Experiences studying air pollution, mortality, and inequalities using Medicare data

2:50 PM Armistead Russell, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA: The NAAQS: Substantial success and the challenges ahead

3:00 PM Panel discussion and Q&A featuring the speakers above, along with one panelist: Howard Kipen, Rutgers School of Public Health

3:30 PM

Conference Closing and Adjournment

Elena Craft, HEI

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1200 Filbert St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States


Conference Program Contact
Dan Crouse

Conference Registration Logistics Contact
Robert Shavers
(617) 934-1020


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