Health Effects Institute 2015 Annual Conference

May 3, 2015 to May 5, 2015

The 2015 HEI Annual Conference was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 3-5, 2015.

The Scientific Program and speaker presentations can be found below. 


Energy Choices

May. 3, 2015 - 1:00pm

Chairs: Jared Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University and Robert O'Keefe, HEI Board of Directors and Health Effects Institute

Attention to climate change worldwide and to air pollution in the developing world is growing. This session will present and discuss the major trends in energy use and the potential implications for health and climate. We will include domestic and global trends and energy actions to reduce emissions (e.g., from coal); the potential for reducing household pollution by moving households to advanced energy options (i.e., to electricity); and enhanced energy efficiency in the mobile and other sectors.


1:00 PM Introduction

1:10 PM The Big Picture: An Overview of Energy Use and Supply

1:40 PM Hidden Costs of Energy

2:20 PM The Future for Global Household Energy Use

Poster Session 1

May. 3, 2015 - 4:15pm

Opening Reception and Dinner

May. 3, 2015 - 6:00pm

Evening Speaker

May. 3, 2015 - 8:00pm
Speaker: John Walls, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Cummins, Inc

HEI Update

May. 4, 2015 - 8:30am

Chairs: David Eaton, University of Washington–Seattle and Chair of HEI Research Committee and James Merchant,University of Iowa and Chair of HEI Review Committee.

We will introduce members of the HEI scientific committees and briefly report on HEI's activities. Topics will include the introduction of the 2014 recipient of the Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award and a report from the Special Committee on 21st Century Oil and Gas Development. A recently completed health outcomes study will also be featured along with comments from the HEI Review Committee.


8:30 AM Introduction of the Committees

8:45 AM Presentation of the 2014 Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award

8:45 AM Report on Progress in HEI's Scientific Activities

9:00 AM Update on the HEI 21st Century Oil and Gas Project

9:15 AM The HEI Health Outcomes Program

9:20 AM Air Quality Improvements and Children's Respiratory Health

9:40 AM Comments from the HEI Review Committee

9:50 AM Discussion


May. 4, 2015 - 10:00am

Findings of the HEI Diesel Epidemiology Project

May. 4, 2015 - 10:20am

Chair: Dan Greenbaum, Health Effects Institute

In 2013, HEI charged a multidisciplinary expert panel with the task of evaluating two recent epidemiologic studies of exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer for their potential use in quantitative risk assessment, in particular for the characterization of the exposure–response relationship. The first was a study of a large cohort of US nonmetal miners conducted by Debra Silverman of the National Cancer Institute and Michael Attfield of the National Institutes of Occupational Health and their colleagues. The second was the most recent study by Eric Garshick of the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System and his colleagues of a cohort of male workers employed in the unionized US trucking industry. This session will highlight key issues explored during in the Panel’s evaluation and will present the Panel’s full conclusions regarding use of these studies for quantitative risk assessment.

10:20 AM Opening Comments

  • Daniel S. Greenbaum

    Health Effects Institute

10:25 AM Project Approach and Framing

10:40 AM Understanding the Potential Influence of Smoking, Radon, and Other Factors

  • Jonathan I. Levy

    Boston University, USA

11:00 AM Evaluation of the Historical Estimates of Exposure to Diesel Exhaust

  • Paul Demers
    Occupational Cancer Research Center, Canada

11:20 AM Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Daniel Krewski

11:50 AM Discussion and Questions

Lunch and Presentation

May. 4, 2015 - 12:15pm
Speaker: Chris Grundler, Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Poster Session 2

May. 4, 2015 - 1:30pm


May. 4, 2015 - 3:00pm

NO2: New Insights on an Old Pollutant

May. 4, 2015 - 3:20pm

Chairs: Mark Frampton,University of Rochester Medical Center and Armistead Russell, Georgia Institute of Technology, both on HEI Review Committee

Nitrogen dioxide is derived from combustion sources, including on-road and off-road vehicles, and is among the pollutants for which the US Environmental Protection Agency has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards and the European Union has set limit values. This session will discuss current and future technologies aimed at controlling tailpipe emissions of NO2 and other oxides of nitrogen, and the challenges and successes in lowering NO2 concentrations in urban areas. Recent evidence on the effects of NO2 on organs other than the lung will also be presented.


3:20 PM Introduction

3:25 PM Is NO2 a Marker for Effects of Traffic Pollution or a Pollutant on Its Own?

3:50 PM Emission Control Systems for NOx and PM: Beyond the 2010 Standard

4:20 PM Successes and Challenges in Reducing Emissions and Ambient NO2 in High-Traffic Areas:

5:00 PM Questions and General Discussion

Free Evening

May. 4, 2015 - 5:30pm

Air Pollution on Our Minds

May. 5, 2015 - 8:30am

Chairs: David Eaton, and Stephanie London, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and HEI Review Committee 

Although effects of environmental toxicants on the brain have been known for a long time, studies of the effects of air pollution on the brain at different ages are relatively recent. This session will provide an overview of the mechanisms by which air pollutants may affect the brain and how to study them, what is known about possible developmental effects of exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and early childhood, and what neurodegenerative diseases may be associated with air pollution exposure in adults.

8:30 AM Introduction

  • Stephanie London

8:40 AM Approaches to Studying Neurotoxic Effects of Environmental Pollutants

9:10 AM Neurotoxic Effects of Air Pollution in the Older Adult

9:40 AM Neurotoxic Effects of Air Pollution in Early Life

10:10 AM General Discussion


May. 5, 2015 - 10:30am

Ultrafine Particles in a Multipollutant World

May. 5, 2015 - 11:30am

Chairs: Michael Brauer, University of British Columbia, Canada and HEI Review Committee, and Allen Robinson, Carnegie Mellon University and HEI Research Committee

The HEI Perspectives 3 (released in 2013) concluded that the scientific literature did not support strong conclusions about the independent effects of ambient ultrafine particles (UFPs) on human health. Limitations in study size and design, in measurement of exposure to UFPs, and in the analysis of UFP as an individual pollutant rather than as one component of the traffic pollutant mixture were the reasons behind the report’s conclusions. Recent studies have raised additional questions about the contributions to UFP exposure of nucleation events, airports, and other sources. This session draws lessons from a range of studies on UFPs for designing effective research strategies to evaluate the health effects associated with long-term UFP exposures.

11:00 AM Introduction

  • Michael Brauer
    , University of British Columbia, Canada

11:05 AM The Potential of Mobile Monitoring Campaigns to Assess Long-Term Exposure to Ultrafine Particles

11:30 AM Contribution of Nucleation Events to Ultrafine Particle Exposures

11:55 AM Lunch

1:00 PM Ultrafine Particles Downwind of Los Angeles International Airport: Implications for Exposure Assessment

1:25 PM Associations of Mortality with Long-Term Exposures to Fine and Ultrafine Particles

1:50 PM US Environmental Protection Agency’s Workshop on Ultrafine Particles: Summary and Next Steps

2:00 PM Panel Discussion

Conference Adjourns

May. 5, 2015 - 2:00pm
Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel
1 Dock St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States
Full Conference Rate: 

Sunday Through Tuesday.

Includes all meals and breaks, Sunday lunch through Tuesday lunch, except Monday dinner. 

Single Day Rates
Sunday Includes lunch, breaks, reception, and dinner.
Monday Includes breakfast, lunch, and breaks.
Tuesday Includes breakfast, lunch, and breaks.

Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, 1 Dock St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

HEI Code of Conduct

HEI fully expects that all participants who attend any in-person or online meeting or event behave with the utmost respect for peers, colleagues, staff, volunteers, researchers, sponsors, and everyone across the HEI community. It is our sincere desire that every event, meeting, and gathering we host or participate in fosters and encourages an inclusive, positive, and welcoming environment for all. Read HEI’s full Code of Conduct Statement.