Thursday, September 23, 2021

Jill Johnston and Bhavna Shamasunder

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Jill Johnston works to develop community-academic partnerships to advance environmental health and justice in disadvantaged urban and rural neighborhoods. Dr. Johnston's research combines community engagement with exposure assessment and epidemiology, to address environmental health concerns. In particular, she is interested in assessing exposure pathways to pollutants as a result of industrial activities. Dr. Johnston has collaborated with community organizations in San Antonio, TX to assess the migration of chlorinated solvents from groundwater into indoor air (vapor intrusion) near a former Air Force Base. Using community-driven approaches, she has worked to assess exposure to emerging contaminants due to land-applied sewage sludge as well as assess impacts of industrial animal operations. Her interest in environmental justice research emerged from years spent as a community organizer in South Texas working towards just remediation of legacy contamination, a healthy built environment and meaningful community participation in decision-making processes. She received her PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in environmental epidemiology. At USC, Dr. Johnston will continue to utilize participatory and community-based methods to understand the impacts of industrial processes and chemical use on the environment, characterize pathways of human exposure, and evaluate approaches to increase health, equity and justice. Bhavna Shamasunder teaches and conduct research on environmental health and justice at Occidental College in the Urban & Environmental Policy Department and Public Health Program. Much of my research is informed by community generated questions and collaborations, in partnership with those most affected by industrial or product driven exposures. My research examines impacts from oil extraction for nearby communities, and consumer product driven exposures in low income communities of color. I live and work in Los Angeles.

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