By Lissette Palestro
I attended the American Climate Leadership Summit as a 2019 ecoAmerica Climate Scholar. The summit reinforced my belief that climate change is not a partisan issue and that to address climate change, as well as the health and equity nexus, it is essential for cross-sector stakeholders (e.g. frontline communities, grassroots organizations, national health care, corporate, and faith entities) to work together to identify climate solutions.
The culmination of various internships and experiences initially sparked my interest in environmental health. However, my experience working in a family shelter where the link between housing, health, and poverty was evident is what really inspired me to pursue a career in this field. My interest in further exploring the connection between health and the environment led me to pursue an M.P.H. in Environmental Health at Texas A&M University. As a Texas Maternal and Child Health Trainee, I worked on various projects related to maternal and child health including air pollution, lead exposure, and emergency response.
I am currently the Coordinator of the Western Region of the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers (NYSCEHC), which works to prevent, diagnose and treat environmentally related health effects during pregnancy and throughout childhood. My efforts are focused on working collaboratively with stakeholders and providing tools and education to health professionals and community members to address various topics such as air quality, healthy homes, food safety, climate change, and health equity.