Health Effects Institute 2019 Annual Conference

May 5, 2019 to May 7, 2019

The 2019 HEI Annual Conference was held at the W Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Washington on May 5-7, 2019. 

Stay tuned for the next Annual Conference, April 5-7, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts.


The Scientific Program and speaker presentations can be found below.


Welcome and Conference Opening

May. 5, 2019 - 1:00pm

Dan Greenbaum, Health Effects Institute

New Mobility: Changing Health?

May. 5, 2019 - 1:10pm

Chairs: David Foster, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Frank Kelly, King’s College London, United Kingdom

Mobility systems are undergoing a paradigm shift and have the potential to significantly change the way people travel. Rideshare businesses are expanding, and innovations and investments in electric and autonomous vehicles are increasing. In response, the relationship between transportation and air quality is also expected to change, but the actual path that change will take is not yet known. This session will explore the likely impact of emerging mobility trends on current and future air quality and health.

1:10 PM Introduction

  • Frank Kelly

    Imperial College London, United Kingdom

1:15 PM Global Overview of the Transportation Revolution

1:45 PM Connection Between Changing Mobility and Infrastructure

2:15 PM Effects of Technologies and Their Deployment on Air Pollution

2:45 PM Potential Health Implications of New Mobility

3:15 PM Panel Discussion

Poster Session 1

May. 5, 2019 - 4:00pm

Opening Reception, Dinner, and Awards Presentation

May. 5, 2019 - 6:00pm

Health Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Air Pollution

May. 6, 2019 - 8:00am

Chairs: Barbara Hoffmann, University of Düsseldorf, Germany, and David Savitz, Brown University

Evidence for potential impacts of prenatal and early-life air pollution exposure on health is rapidly increasing, and some birth outcomes are currently being considered for inclusion in Global Burden of Disease estimates. This session will provide an overview of the state of knowledge on various birth and other childhood health outcomes, consider methodological issues unique to this topic, and discuss longer-term consequences of early-life exposures for adult health.

8:10 AM Epidemiological Evidence for Adverse Birth Effects Associated with Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution

8:35 AM Respiratory Effects and Asthma in Children

9:00 AM Neurodevelopmental Effects

9:25 AM Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in Children

9:50 AM General Discussion

Poster Session 2

May. 6, 2019 - 10:30am

Global Health: Building Science for Informed Action

May. 6, 2019 - 1:15pm

Chairs: Kiros Berhane, University of Southern California, and Aaron Cohen, Health Effects Institute and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

In regions where air pollution levels are high, local data on exposures, sources, and related health effects are often limited. While current health burden estimates draw primarily from studies conducted in North America and Europe, efforts are underway to generate locally relevant air quality and health data in developing countries. This session will explore data, methods, and technology developments to characterize air pollution and its sources and health effects in these countries.

1:15 PM Introduction and Overview of HEI Global Health Program

1:25 PM Harmonizing Disparate Global and Local Air Quality Data to Support Research and Communication

1:45 PM New Developments and Opportunities in Global Satellite Technology for Air Pollution and Health Research

2:05 PM Improving Understanding of Concentration-Response Functions in Countries with High Ambient Particulate Matter Exposure: China Cohort Studies of Air Pollution and Health

2:25 PM GBD 2017 State-Level Burden of Disease from Air Pollution in India: Findings and Future Research Needs

2:45 PM General Discussion

Where There’s Wildfire, There’s Smoke

May. 6, 2019 - 3:30pm

Chairs: Michael Jerrett, University of California - Lost Angeles, and Allen Robinson, Carnegie Mellon University

Wildfire smoke is increasingly recognized as an important source of air pollution, and frequency and intensity of wildfires are likely to increase with climate change. Wildfires and wildfire smoke composition are complex and dynamic, making exposure characterization difficult. Increasing evidence links air pollution from wildfire smoke to adverse health effects, in particular respiratory morbidity. This session will explore perceptions and realities about wildfires and their global impacts.

3:30 PM Why Study the Health Effects of Wildfires?

3:50 PM Where There’s Wildfire, There’s Smoke: An Epidemiological Perspective

4:10 PM Modeling, Monitoring, and Messaging Wildfire Smoke for Air Quality and Public Health

4:30 PM Hands-On Experience Mitigating Wildfire Impacts

4:50 PM U.S. EPA’s Research Perspectives on the Health Impacts of Wildfires and Wildfire Smoke

5:10 PM General Discussion

Free Evening

May. 6, 2019 - 5:30pm

How Low? Testing Health Effects at the Lowest Levels of Air Pollution

May. 7, 2019 - 8:30am

Chairs: Amy Herring, Duke University, and Sverre Vedal, University of Washington, Seattle

Although ambient air pollution levels are declining in high-income regions, epidemiological studies report associations with health effects at levels below current standards, raising questions about even lower standards. HEI is in the midst of funding three studies investigating the health effects of low-level exposure in very large populations in the United States, Canada, and Europe. This session will present the results currently available from those studies and their strengths and weaknesses identified by an independent HEI Review Panel, and discuss implications for future risk assessment and regulation.

8:30 AM What are the Risk Assessment and Policy Decisions to be Informed?

8:40 AM Introduction to HEI’s Program to Assess Health Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Low Levels of Ambient Air Pollution

8:50 AM Results from the European Analysis Using ESCAPE Cohorts and Various Large Administrative Data Sets

9:10 AM MAPLE: Mortality–Air Pollution Associations in Low Exposure Environments in Canada

9:30 AM Results from the U.S. Study Using Medicare Data

9:50 AM General Discussion

10:00 AM Break

10:30 AM Comments from the HEI Review Panel

10:45 AM The Current Knowledge on Adverse Effects of Low-Level Air Pollution: Have We Filled the Gap?

11:00 AM General Discussion

The HEI Strategic Plan 2020–2025

May. 7, 2019 - 12:00pm

Chairs: Dan Greenbaum, HEI, Robert O’Keefe, HEI, and Rashid Shaikh, HEI

The Institute's draft blueprint for the future, the HEI Strategic Plan 2020–2025, will be presented and discussed. Conference participants are encouraged to suggest and comment on upcoming policy decisions for which enhanced science will be needed and on priorities for HEI’s research programs and other activities during the next five years.

This first draft (pdf) is available for public comment. HEI will finalize the plan during the summer of 2019 and would love to hear from you at this early stage. Please send your thoughts on the draft plan to

Conference Adjourns

May. 7, 2019 - 1:30pm
W Seattle Hotel
1112 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
United States
Full Conference Rate: 

Sunday Through Tuesday

Includes all meals & 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.

The W Seattle Hotel. 1112 4th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98101

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.