CURA: Urban Air Quality: A Global Health Crisis Panel Discussion

Urban Air Quality: A Global Health Crisis

Panel Discussion

This event is free and open to the public, light refreshments will be provided

In the theme of sustainability we ask you to bring your own reusable beverage container

Air Quality is quickly becoming a global health crisis, especially in highly urbanized areas. Urban air pollution depends on many factors, ranging from meteorological conditions to geographic factors. Our panel consists of experts in urban air quality and will bring new insights to this topic.


Kerry Ard, Professor - School of Environmental and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University

Kerry Ard, PhD. is currently a professor in the School of Environmental and Natural Resources at OSU. Her research explores how social processes create and sustain environmental inequalities by race and class and how these unequal exposures are linked to health disparities. She use sociological concepts to understand the issues of social inequality and the environment. Her work covers the arc of environmental inequality from an investigation into its political causes to its ultimate consequences of social disparities in health outcomes. At the foundation of her work is a perspective that scholars need to bring the insights from the field of sociology to bear on the causes of environmental risk and resulting effects on health. Current research provides little doubt that pollution is unequally distributed by race and class. Future research in this field needs to work toward gaining insight into actionable social and political areas that are at the core of these inequalities. In all of her research her goal is to uncover the political leverage points that will address social inequalities.   

Ayaz Hyder, Professor - College of Public Health, The Ohio State University

Dr. Hyder is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Affiliated Faculty in Translational Data Analytics at The Ohio State University. Dr. Hyder received his Ph.D. in Biology at McGill University where he developed and validated agent-based models for the spatial spread of influenza. He went on to complete a two-year postdoctoral training in environmental epidemiology with cross-appointments in School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and School of Public Health, Yale University. He also completed a two-year research associate position in Health Services Research at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Dr. Hyder’s research focuses on understanding the role of multiple determinants of human health (social, economic, demographic, environment) operating at multiple levels of organization (individual, neighborhood, regional). Dr. Hyder uses mathematical and computational approaches (e.g. predictive analytics and systems science methods) to bring together theory, data and methods from multiple disciplines. His currently funded projects are in the areas of birth outcomes, food insecurity, environmental health, opioid epidemic, and citizen science.

Carolyn Watkins, Chief, Office of Environmental Education; Administrator, Diesel Emission Reduction Programs, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Carolyn Watkins serves as Chief of Ohio EPA's Office of Environmental Education, and Administrator of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Grants, Diesel Emission Reduction Grants, an Environmental Science and Engineering Scholarship Program, the Ohio Environmental Education Fund, and the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund.  She oversees $20 million annually in state and federal grants to educate Ohio residents about environmental issues; to encourage transition to alternative fuels, and to reduce emissions from diesel school and transit buses, trucks, locomotives, ships, cargo handling equipment and other diesel fleets.

Brooke White, Senior Air Quality Specialist, Mid- Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)

Dr. Brooke White serves as a Senior Air Quality Specialist for a 15 county region with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.  Her portfolio includes educational marketing and outreach initiatives and technical services in energy and air quality.  Previously, she was a fellow in the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. She holds a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Minnesota and B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Arizona.