Environmental Health News for Marylanders
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Environmental Health News & Resources

June 2018

MdEHN Summer Network Meeting 

What: The Maryland Environmental Health Network is having our quarterly network meeting. This is your next opportunity to learn more about MdEHN programs, coalitions, and advocacy, and to mingle with our diverse network!

When: Thursday, July 12, 2018 (Time TBC) 
Where: The Associated, 101 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 
Who: You!


Summertime Actions: Seeding A Culture of Public Health Protections

Save the date for our next meeting. We are planning for an exciting discussion of health equity strategies and state, and local interventions where the health voice is needed. The program will feature a keynote with an emphasis on our arsenal of policy, program and educational interventions and several update briefings on state and local issues. We hope to see you in Baltimore in July!

Thank you for your continued partnership!

Recently, our mid Atlantic weather patterns have been awash with increased seasonal rain causing extreme flooding and endangering the lives of our friends and neighbors. For a second year Elliott City, MD has borne the brunt of lackluster infrastructure, poor planning, and climate -- and it has cost lives.

Climate change contributes to substantial and sustained rainfall that leads to flooding and creates the conditions for waterborne disease and other environmental threats. Floods have the potential to increase the transmission of communicable diseases, and we will look to health advocates and professionals to support initiatives to address the needs of local communities. We must make it a priority to prepare vulnerable populations for long term resiliency.

This extreme weather event is yet another real-life example of the importance of the work we do at MdEHN. We are concerned (and keeping a watchful eye) about what will happen to the local population when the water subsides and issues of mold burden indoor air quality, because it is especially dangerous for people with existing allergies or asthma. Our ❤️s go out to Ellicott City but more importantly our resources, voices, and capacity are at the ready as climate change is a matter of public health.

- Tamara Toles O'Laughlin

Quick Action: Voice Your Opinion!
  • The Maryland Department of the Environment has extended the public comment period for the Charles County Compressor Station Permit. Testimony is needed to highlight the air quality concerns the station would produce. More information  here.   
  • The Baltimore Sustainability Plan is available for public comment until June 8th.  Review the plan and add your voice for enhanced health protections today!  More info here
Good Reads & Resources
“What’s next for communities when air quality concerns fall on deaf ears?”
by Tamara Toles O'Laughlin| Chesapeake Bay Journal  | Find Here   

“Will Baltimore be the next Flint, Michigan?”
by Cathy Allen| the Afro | Find Here

“Exploring the endocrine activity of air pollutants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction”
Environmental Health Journal Article | Find Here

“Church with $2K in gas driller’s stock wins methane vote” 
Washington Post Article | Find Here

  • Fellowship Opportunity: The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is looking for great candidates  for its fellowship program. The program was launched as a part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative with the ambitious goal of making progress on some of the toughest health challenges to facing the United States. Fellows receive full scholarships to attend the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to receive either a Master of Public Health or Doctor of Public Health degree. 
  • Pesticide Fact Sheet: Smart on Pesticides Maryland has released a new fact sheet on pesticide threats lurking in conventional strawberry production--including chlorpyrifos. We are concerned about the health impacts of these chemicals on our health because their use is linked to asthma, birth defects and neurological complications, among others. Take a look and arm yourself with information during the harvest season. 
  • Submit a Proposal: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is now accepting proposals for the 2018 Chesapeake Watershed Forum. They are especially interested in engaging, interactive learning sessions that highlight innovative partnerships, leading to success. Each track will incorporate one or more sessions that demonstrate partnering successes. 
Blog: 2017-2018 Fellowship Reflections


by Blake Wrigley

I was given the opportunity to be Maryland Environmental Health Network’s (MDEHN) fellow, as part of my education at University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. I have learned much this year and will be taking away with me experiences that will help guide me in my career. And for that, I am thankful. Below are a few of my reflections on my fellowship. 

Public health issues are social justice issues 
I did my best to view MDEHN projects and initiatives with a social determinants of health framework, which helped me to see more clearly how the environment in which we live impacts our health outcomes. Research shows time and time again that public health issues, such as lead poisoning, poor air quality, or the effects of climate change, disproportionately affect vulnerable populations and communities of color. 

As a social work student seeking to eradicate social injustices, I appreciated working with MDEHN to amplify these issues. From community outreach projects in Baltimore to assisting in advocacy for environmental justice legislation in Annapolis, it has been a rich experience working towards the Network vision: a safe and healthy environment for all Marylanders regardless of income, education, occupation, social class, gender, race/ethnicity, or zip code.

Grassroots and Grasstops movements are essential to the cause
This year, I learned is that there is (a) unique strength in both grassroots and grasstops movements and (b) they can work together towards the same goals. Collaboration is the key. MDEHN works toward public health protections and environmental justice at both ends. Supporting and giving voice to communities who are fighting pollution on the frontlines is vital. Yet, macro change comes from the legislative level, advocating for just policies and programs that protect Marylanders health and well-being. 

It has been a privilege supporting Community of Communities this year. This coalition is a group of residents throughout the state who are concerned about natural gas infrastructure (NGI) and its impact on their communities. From community meetings, to pipeline protests, they have spurred the creation of public health protection legislation, Community of Communities is works collectively to fight for human health and against NGI pollution and create a safer, more sustainable Maryland. 

Human health and ecological health are the same 
During the legislative session I was able to help advocate for the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) at the Maryland General Assembly. I researched the public health benefits of trees and forests and had the opportunity to give oral testimony in support of this bill at the House of Delegates. As I worked to promote the FCA, I often reflected upon how human health and the health of the environment are deeply connected. More so, I believe that they cannot be separated. What we do to the environment we do to ourselves. 

This is especially important to keep in mind as we work towards environmental justice aims. We can’t just focus on reducing and removing pollution in communities. We need to go a step further and promote environments that help people to thrive. 

As I prepare to graduate I will leave you with this quote from the writer, farmer, and environmentalist Wendell Berry: 

The idea that we live in something called ‘the environment’, for instance, is utterly preposterous…The world that environs us, that is around us, is also within us. We are made of it; we eat, drink, and breathe it; it is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.”

Community of Communities 

Health practitioners are invited to join residents and advocates across the region for a bi-monthly call to link frontline communities that are experiencing the health impacts of natural gas infrastructure.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 10 AM
Call In: 712-775-7031
Access Code: 776998#

Environmental Justice Legislative Team

Summer meet up!

MdEHN has been working with the Environmental Justice Legislative Team (EJLT) to plan an in person meeting to derief, and strategize for the next state legislative session. We will consider health equity, access, and justice implications of potential bill proposals with a view towards root cause issues. Plan to join us on June 28, 2018, to amplify Environmental Health issues and protect what matters most to undeserved and vulnerable populations.  

Network Member Highlights - Dr. Miranda Jones


Meet Dr. Miranda Jones!
Dr. Miranda Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Jones received her BA degree in Health Administration and Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and her MHS and PhD degrees in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on environmental and social determinants of chronic diseases. She is specifically interested in the health impacts of environmental exposures, including tobacco, secondhand smoke, air pollution and heavy metals, and the role of these exposures to racial/ethnic disparities in cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Jones was a featured speaker at his year's Environmental Justice Luncheon at the Maryland General Assembly  in February and highlighted the findings of her research on vulnerable populations in Prince Georges and across the state during her remarks. Keep an eye out for Dr. Jones! 

News or Updates?
Share your news in the next newsletter!

We are excited to spread the news about you and your best work with the Network each month. If you are interested in being featured please send us an email with a photo and a short bio (approx. 150 words) describing your work, along with information on exciting projects you are undertaking and any relevant background information. We will be sure to get back to you with further questions and a publication date. 

Upcoming Events
Monday, June 11, 2018
100 for MD Event Series- Part III 
Roundtable discussion where participants actively engage in and learn about Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and how we can work together to build a pathway to 100 % clean electricity in Maryland. Dinner will be served.

Sponsored by 100% Renewable Maryland, Chesapeake PSR, IEER, FWW Maryland. Register today

MdEHN levels the playing field for vulnerable populations seeking access, equity, and justice through capacity building partnerships and programs developed with citizen communities, health advocates, and legislators. 

Donate today to support environmental health
protections for all Marylanders

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