Toxic Environments, Trauma and Inter-Sectional Violence during COVID-19

Date: Oct 27 2020

EMBARGOED UNTIL Oct. 28, 10:30 a.m. MT
Contact: Media Relations 

The novel coronavirus has exposed wide inequities in communities facing violence, as well as layers of injustice and environmental hazards.

A session will be held 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday, Oct. 28 during APHA’s virtual Annual Meeting and Expo to examine the myriad ways violence presents itself in vulnerable populations. It’s not just physical violence but also toxic environments and air pollution, food insecurity and mental health challenges.

Over the summer of 2020, the National Wildlife Federation worked in partnership with APHA, NAACP, Union of Concerned Scientists and others to hold a series of six roundtable discussions with more than 100 front-line community leaders, elected officials and other key experts and stakeholders. The goal of these discussions was to understand first-hand challenges faced in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to identify policy solutions that would have most positive change for the communities most impacted. This session will provide a glimpse into the regional roundtables by the original participants.

Moderated by Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation, session panelists will include:

  • Dorette Fernando, the National Children's Campaign.
  • Emily Kelley, founder and director of Community In-power & Development Association Inc.
  • Lise Van Susteren, MD, a nationally recognized psychiatrist focused on mental health/wellness and climate effects.
  • Surili Patel, MS, director of APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity, discussing JEDI and the importance of climate action to promote health equity.

Add this session to your personalized schedule.

The APHA Annual Meeting and Expo is the largest and most influential yearly gathering of public health professionals. Themed “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence," this year’s virtual meeting will be held Oct. 24-28. Register or learn more about APHA’s 2020 Annual Meeting. Working members of the news media may register by contacting


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