About the Series

The Children’s Environmental Health Series is a comprised of three virtual events focused on the impact of environmental factors on children’s health and well-being. Hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), this series engages medical and public health professionals in discussions that explore prominent issues affecting marginalized people and presents evidence-based methods for integrating best practices for broad implementation.



Pediatricians, School Nurses, Public Health Professionals, Community Health Workers

This series will:

  • EXAMINE current social justice and environmental health issues impacting children and families as it relates to asthma and behavioral health. 
  • DISCUSS successful strategies and best practices for engaging disadvantaged populations disproportionately impacted by environmental factors. 
  • EXPLORE the power of nature experiences on mental and physical health.


Free, only registration is required to attend

      Series Schedule

      Each day will focus on a different theme: 
      Day 1 - Achieving Health Equity
      Day 2 - The Environment and Children's Health: Improving Asthma Outcomes 
      Day 3 - Increasing Inclusion and Access to Nature Experiences for Mental Health 

      Tuesday, June 8th
      12:00 - 2:00 pm

      Achieving Health Equity

      The schedule

      12:00 - 12:50 pm
      A Conversation with Dr. Regina Benjamin

      Guest: Regina Benjamin, MD, 18th US Surgeon General

      Taking a deep dive into to the effects of racial and social injustice, health disparities, and the equity gap on children’s health, this reflective discussion will approach influencers on health—namely social determinants of health—and uncover essential resources and strategies for achieving health equity. We will bring into focus the role of health care professionals in responding to these detrimental impacts with intentional, actionable steps for charting a path towards better engagement, improved outcomes, and quality of care.

      12:50 - 1:00 pm
      Nature Break
      1:00 - 2:00 pm
      Closing the Gap in Achieving Health Equity

      Moderator: Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH, Children's Environmental Health Network

      Panelists: Rosemary Enobakhare, EPA; Elizabeth Clark, MSN, RN, National Association of School Nurses; I. Leslie Rubin, MD, Emory University; Sophia Smith, MD, Children's National Medical Center

      This moderated discussion will begin with defining the health equity gap. Historical injustices and structural discrimination have rendered some population groups disparate because of racial, social, economic, and environmental disadvantages. Panelists will examine the differential impact on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous children’s health and establish tactics for achieving health equity through action. Ideas will be shared for how health care professionals can make meaningful strides in leading the work to effect change and equity for all. 

      Tuesday, June 15th
      12:00 - 2:30 pm

      The Environment and Children's Health: Improving Asthma Outcomes

      The schedule

      12:00 - 12:20 pm
      Improving Asthma Outcomes with EXHALE Technical Strategies

      Presenter: Joy Hsu, MD, CDC

      The CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and its partners help people with asthma achieve better health and improved quality of life. NACP developed EXHALE, a set of six strategies that each contribute to better asthma control. Each EXHALE strategy has been proven to reduce asthma-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and healthcare costs. This session will introduce EXHALE and demonstrate how strategies can be used by providers, public health professionals, healthcare organizations, schools, people with asthma and their families, and others. 

      12:20 - 12:50 pm
      State and City Asthma Programs

      Presenters: Benjamin Francisco, PhD, Missouri Department of Health; Sarah Geiger, PhD, Illinois Asthma Program; Wanda Rodríguez-Donham, DHSc, Florida Asthma Program

      This session will highlight the success CDC partners have had with the EXHALE technical package rollout. A video segment will showcase the impact state and city asthma programs have made so far in promoting EXHALE, as well as provide tips for implementing these strategies in your community.

      12:50 - 1:00 pm
      Nature Break
      1:00 - 1:30 pm
      Interactive Session: Children's Environmental Health Hazards

      Presenter: Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, University of Louisville

      This interactive session provides a brief overview of children's environmental health hazards. Participants will understand the health effects of climate on children, specifically extreme heat and poor air quality, and mental health. Digital environmental health resources will be shared.

      Participants will be guided through five learning activities. They will be presented with questions and encouraged to submit responses via the Zoom polling or chat feature. The facilitator will review participant responses and provide education on the subject matter. Participants will engage in brief discussions following each activity.

      1:30 - 2:30 pm
      Climate, Air Quality, and Children’s Health

      Moderator: Vernessa Perry, NEEF

      Panelists: Claudia Brown, MDH, CDC; Ananya Roy, PhD, Environmental Defense Fund; Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH, Children's Environmental Health Network; Tyra Bryant-Stephens, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

      Topics discussed during this panel include: the intersections of climate change experienced directly through extreme weather events, heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding—and indirectly through changes in air quality resulting in pollution—and the adverse impact on health for children with respiratory diseases such asthma. Panelists will also Identify the role and contributions of physicians, school nurses, public health professionals, and others in the field to address and inform communities about air quality and climate change, as well as share messaging and strategies for increasing understanding and improving management of these health issues. 

      Tuesday, June 22nd
      12:00 - 2:55 pm

      Increasing Inclusion and Access to Nature Experiences for Mental Health

      The schedule

      12:00 - 1:00 pm
      COVID-19, Nature Experiences, and Mental Health: Accessing Green Spaces for Mental and Physical Health Benefits

      Moderator: Kristie Trousdale, MPH, Children's Environmental Health Network

      Panelists: Kathy L. Reiner, MPH, BA, BSN, RN; Sandy Marin, USDA Forest Service; Priya Cook, Children & Nature Network; Sophia Smith, MD, Children's National Medical Center

      During this era of racial reckoning and the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, many children are experiencing isolation, stress, and depression, which has led to rising incidences of suicide and self-harm. Mental and physical health are critically important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and there is a growing body of evidence on the health benefits of nature. During this panel discussion, experts will discuss current threats to physical and mental health and their determinants while inspiring new possibilities for innovative care. Panelists will discuss best practices, individual actions, and the resourcefulness of nature and spending time outdoors as a tool for therapy.

      1:05 - 1:15 pm
      Nature Break
      1:15 - 1:35 pm
      NBA CARES Spotlight

      Dr. Kensa Gunter, clinical and sport psychologist and Director of NBA Mind Health, talks to Josh Powell, two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, about his personal story and the connection between emotional wellness and physical health. This pre-recorded discussion will focus on mental health issues and the importance of leveraging community resources to improve wellness.

      1:35 - 2:35 pm
      Achieving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Outdoor Spaces

      Moderator: Sara Espinoza, NEEF

      Panelists: Tinelle Bustam, PhD, US Forest Service; Subria Spencer, National Park Service; Meri-Margaret Deoudes, NEEF; Laura Flores, Latino Outdoors

      Panelists will discuss intentional strategies being used to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds to increase access to parks and public lands. Implementing successful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) programs is critical for establishing lasting relationships with communities that have historically been marginalized. Discussions will focus on shifting the narrative on who is accessing outdoor spaces and sharing best practices for building inclusive relationships that attract long-term youth engagement. 

      2:35 - 2:55 pm
      Forest Bathing/Forest Therapy

      Presenter: Tamberly Conway, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Conservation Conexions, LLC,
      Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) Certified Guide

      This guided exercise introduces meditative practices for reconnecting with nature.

      Sponsors / Partners

      We are proud to work with our federal and state partners to bring you this event.