Faculty and Staff Update – June 2022


Message from the Chair

Robert Wright, MD, MPH

I hope to see everyone at the July 29 summer outing at Chelsea Piers. It has been a long time since we have been able to gather socially as a department, and it will be a full day of fun activities. Make sure to RSVP by July 1. This is a family event so please bring kids and significant others!

In other news, our NIEHS-funded P30 Center has been renamed the Center on Health and Environment Across the LifeSpan (HEALS) to better reflect our focus on life course health research which includes aging. On a related note, don’t miss the pilot project deadlines coming up in July for regular awards and a new special pilot program in partnership with the Claude D. Pepper Older American’s Independence Center at Icahn Mount Sinai on environment and aging.

We are organizing the 5th NYC Exposome Symposium, July 12-13, with a focus on “Health Equity and the Exposome: Understanding the Hidden Ways Environment Drives Health.” Following the symposium on July 13-15, we are thrilled to host the first in-person NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers Meeting since 2019. Both events will be in-person at the New York Academy of Medicine, as well as live streamed for those who cannot attend in person. Please be sure to register.

Finally, June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Please let your family and friends who identify as LGBTQ know how much you love them (and in all the other months too!)


Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH
Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health
Co-Director, Institute for Exposomic Research



A Son’s Reflection on His Mother’s Life Journey by Robert Wright, MD, MPH

To celebrate Mother’s Day and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Dr. Robert Wright reflects on the life of his mother—Naoko Yogi Wright, a woman who grew up in extreme poverty, survived war and moved half-way across the globe to a foreign culture in hope of giving opportunity to her children, all the while continuing to contribute to the lives of the family she left behind in Okinawa. Read the blog

The Workers Are Not Alright
by Yelena Globina MD, MPH

As workers return to the workplace with the pandemic not yet over, workplace safety is more important than ever. Read the article

Stay Informed

New Videos
We are pleased to launch a new video series to explain how exposomics can help us understand certain health outcomes and opportunities for prevention. We will be rolling out these videos on social media in the months to come and we invite you to use and share them widely.

Cardiovascular Health
Full Playlist

Research in the News: Study links synthetic chemicals to liver damage

Dania Valvi, MD, MPH and Douglas Walker, PhD, co-authored a new study with a team at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine on PFAS chemicals and liver damage publish in Environmental Health Perspectives in April 2022. This is the first study to systematically review the data on PFAS exposure and damage to the liver, synthesizing the results of 111 peer-reviewed studies involving both humans and rodents. The researchers evaluated whether PFAS exposure was associated with elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase, or ALT, which is a liver enzyme that is a biomarker for liver damage when elevated. They concluded that three of the most commonly detected PFAS in humans — perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) — are all connected with elevated levels of ALT in the blood of both humans and rodents. Authors also noted some differences in the effects of PFAS on liver injury between females and males, suggesting a potential mechanism through hormone dysregulation. Learn more.

Research Spotlight: Studying Endocrine Disrupting Mixtures

Chris Gennings, PhD, was a part of a group funded by Horizon 2020 to evaluate EDC mixtures (2015-2019).  The results were recently published in Science. As opposed to previous studies that focused on single compounds, researchers identified and tested an EDC mixture associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy (SELMA) pregnancy cohort by integrating epidemiological data with experimental toxicology and characterized real life–relevant exposures.

Research Spotlight: Terry Thompson, DHA, MPH

Examining the Impact of Air Pollution and Stress on Sleep Inequities in East Harlem Children: A Community-Engaged Pilot Project
Working together with Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSAFHS), a non-profit community organization that provides a wide range of services to East Harlem families in need, Dr. Terry Thompson will examine the association between air quality, stress, and child sleep using Actigraph watches, indoor air monitors, sleep diaries, and parent surveys. Working closely with community advisors, the study team will create reports for participants outlining study findings and steps they can take to improve both indoor air quality and child sleep. Co-Investigators include Maida Galvez, MD, MPHRobert O. Wright, MD, MPHSarah Evans, PHD, MPHLeon Hsu, ScD; Luz Guel, BA, BS,  and Ray Lopez of LSAFHS. Learn more.

Community Engagement Spotlight: Sarah Evans, PhD, MPH

The benefits of our community engagement are bidirectional, helping the communities served while also informing the direction of environmental health research. Dr. Sarah Evans worked with advocates and community organizations in the New York/New Jersey area to educate residents and decision makers about the potential negative impacts of a proposed gas-fired power plant in an environmental justice neighborhood in Newark, NJ. Learn more.

Occupational Medicine Residency Tour
EMPH residents and faculty toured a pigment production plan in the Hudson Valley on April 6 to learn about the production process from mined mica flakes to finished color pigments used in cosmetics, merchant ink, and plastics specialties markets. While on the tour, they met with plant workers and discussed the company’s safety and health standards.   For more information, contact Adam Sander, MD, Chief Resident

COVID-19 Health and Safety for Workplaces
The Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health have published a new digital version of the COVID-19 Resources for Workplaces Guidance. The new booklet includes up-to-date information on long COVID and updated mental health resources. A web version is also available.

Earth Day Community Outreach
On Earth Day, Valeria Menéndez Rosas, MPH, had the opportunity to join The Black Institute and Beyond Pesticides at the 2022 Earth Day Festival at Union Square in Manhattan. They shared resources on banning pesticides in parks and public spaces and healthy lifestyles. The warm and vivid atmosphere at the event successfully brought climate activism, education, and entertainment together.

Video: Measurable impacts of climate change on workforce, workplaces and on workers health
Dr. Ismail Nabeel gave a special talk on the impacts of climate change on worker health at an event co-sponsored by the New Hampshire Public Health Association and New Hampshire Medical Society. Watch the video

The Selikoff Centers have developed a EMS Injury Prevention Program for Mount Sinai Health System new hires and seasonal workers with the objective of decreasing work-related injuries and mitigating ergonomic risk factors. After piloting the program for a year, the team is expanding its reach to help workers in the broader community. The EMS project development team includes Arlette Loeser, MA, OTR, CIE, Michael Gormley, RN, Yelena Globina, MD, MPH and Agata Bednarska, MSW.

Black Child Health Working Group
The Black Child Health Working Group (BCHWG) was co-founded in summer 2020 by Teresa Herrera and Blean Girma, MPH in response to racial inequities highlighted concurrently by the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. Learn more.

Institute for Exposomic for Research Website: Please take a moment to bookmark and explore the new Institute for Exposomic Research website located at https://MountSinaiExposomics.org/. If you would like to contribute an article or highlight your work, please contact Aviad Yitshak-Sade.

The 2022 NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHSCC) Community Forum held on May 18 was an opportunity to collectively check in with community partners across the country who are active within the EHSCC Community Engagement Cores (CECs).  It highlighted community partners who are on the frontlines addressing environmental and climate injustices and featured discussions on how to advance anti-racism and environmental justice within environmental health research and education more broadly. This work will be continued at the July EHSCC Meeting. Watch the videos

Upcoming Events

June 15, 12pm – 1pm

Safe Patient Handling: Assessment and Solutions in Caring for Bariatric Patients
Speakers: Arlette Loeser, OTR, CIE and Sonja Mains, PT
This practical webinar provides attendees with tools to help prevent employee injuries and support hospitalized patient SPH by including assessment, equipment and operational solutions. Eligible for 1 CME/CEU contact hour. Register today.

June 16, 9am – 10:30 am

Repetitive Stress Injury Webinar
Speakers: John Meyer, MD, MPH, Tina Sehremelis, OTD, OTR/L, CHT and Arlette Loeser, OTR, CIE
This webinar reviews best practices in diagnostics, rehabilitative therapies, and returning patients safely to work and life function. 1.5 contact hours Register Today

July 23, 9am – 10 am

Work-related Long Covid Webinar
Speakers: Winston Kwa, MD, MPH, Sharon Lee, MD, MPH and Yelena Globina, MD, MPH
This webinar provides attendees with updated information on work-related long COVID and the impact of workers’ compensation benefits on long-term patient care. 1.0 contact hour

July 12-13

NYC Exposome Symposium “Health Equity and the Exposome: Understanding the Hidden Ways Environment Drives Health.” This symposium will focus on the role of exposomics in the context of health disparities research and implications for improving clinical care for communities of color. EMPH faculty and trainees must register (registered fees will be covered on appropriate grants)

Access the EMPH Calendar

Awards, Appointments and Promotions

Recent Promotions
Congratulations to the following faculty who have recently been promoted to Associate Professor: Paul Curtin, PhD; Christine Austin, PhD; Elena Colicino, PhD; Kristin Oliver, MD; and Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH.

Rosalind J. Wright, MD, MPH, will be honored at the 2022 Jacobi Medallion Awards Ceremony on June 21. The Jacobi Medallion is one of the highest honors that the Mount Sinai Health System bestows upon current or former colleagues. The recipients have made exceptional contributions to Icahn Mount Sinai, the Health System, the Mount Sinai Alumni Association, or the fields of medicine or biomedicine.  Learn more.

In April 2022, Luz Claudio, PhD, was appointed to the Climate Advisory Committee, a new committee formed by Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island to support the selection of an anchor academic and research institution for the Center for Climate Solutions. Learn more.

Ismail Nabeel, MD, MPH, MS, FACOEM, received the 2022 Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). Dr. Nabeel was recognized for his work as vice chair of the Council on Scientific Affairs, for the development and launching of the COVID-19 Q&A Forum, and as host of the Occupational Medicine Podcast ‘COVID Conversations.’ Watch the presentation.

ERC Pilot Awards
2022 ERC Pilots have been awarded to:

Hannah Thompson, MD: Short-Acting Opioids and Working-Age Patients from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (Mentor: Ismail Nabeel, MD, MPH)

O. Deborah Akinsilo, MD MS: Transgenerational effect of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals on Adverse Birth Outcomes (Mentor: John Meyer, MD, MPH)

Anti-Racism, Intersectionality, Diversity & Equity (AIDE) Committee

All faculty, staff, and trainees are invited to join the AIDE committee that meets monthly to review, evaluate, and advance the department’s work in anti-racism. Please contact Maida Galvez, MD, MPH or Luz Guel to learn more about the committee.

Read the April 2022 AIDE Newsletter.


Connect with EMPH colleagues on the first Wednesday of each month at 12pm for a wellness activity. If you would like to join the wellness committee or suggest activities, please contact Drs. Megan Horton or Elizabeth Garland.

EMPH Team Members joined the American Heart Association Wall Street Run and Heart Walk in May. This year’s event raised nearly $2.5 million.


View all EMPH Publications on PlumX.

Visit the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health website.

© 2022 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai