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Creating Healthy Communities 2016 Conference

Join us for the Creating Healthy Communities Conference on October 6, 2016 at the David Lawrence Convention Center!

Conference Schedule

Creating Healthy Communities conference is a one-day summit addressing how our environment impacts public health. Dynamic, nationally-recognized speakers will discuss the scientific, medical, political and community-based approaches to creating healthier communities across the country. Local experts will highlight multiple health topics as they relate to our homes, schools and communities. The conference will educate and encourage attendees to become champions in having a positive impact on the health of our region.

This conference is made possible through the generous support of the presenting sponsor Highmark Foundation, the Laurel Foundation, and media sponsor Pittsburgh Magazine.

              Laurel Foundation        

Thank you to our partners, GTECH Strategies, the Allegheny County Health DepartmentGASP, Sierra Club, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, the Center for Public Health Practice, and Clean Water Action for their participation in the conference planning.



Dr. Robert Atkins serves the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as director of New Jersey Health Initiatives. Fresh out of nursing school, Bob moved to the city of Camden where he worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School and co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. Bob’s work in Camden motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health and well-being of children living in vulnerable communities.

Dr. Sally Perreault Darney serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) published by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). After earning her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Reproductive Biology from the University of Hawaii in 1980 and conducting postdoctoral research at The Johns Hopkins University, she established a research program in reproductive toxicology and epidemiology in the US EPA's Office of Research and Development. There she influenced research priority strategic planning in chemical safety, sustainable communities, children’s health, and health disparities.

Dr. Maida Galvez, a board certified Pediatrician, is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She directs Mount Sinai's Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit and practices General Pediatrics. She is Co-Principal Investigator and a designated New Investigator of an NIEHS and EPA funded research project entitled 'Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem,' a community based participatory research project examining the environmental determinants of childhood obesity. Her areas of interests include the urban built environment, endocrine disruptors, and childhood growth and development. She is the recipient of many awards, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Special Achievement Award for Distinguished Service and Dedication to the Mission and Goals of the Academy American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. She is also Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research examines scientific and socioeconomic influences on food choice, obesity, and food safety, emphasizing the role of food marketing. She is the author of five prize-winning books. Her awards include: John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service, James Beard Leadership Award, US Healthful Food Council's Innovator of the Year Award, Public Health Association of New York City's Media Award, and Public Health Hero by the University of California School of Public Health at Berkeley.


Michelle Wright is a morning news anchor and reporter for WTAE-TV.  Michelle has reported live from the scene on the region's biggest news stories including: the 9/11 Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, the Quecreek Mine rescue, and the G-20 Summit. Michelle is also a beekeeper and sells her honey called “The Wright Stuff.”  She is also an adjunct professor at La Roche College and Point Park University.  She contributes inspirational stories to Gladys Magazine and freelances for WQED-TV. Michelle serves on the Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ACHIEVA, and serves as the media spokesperson or emcee for Race for the Cure, Project Bundle Up, and National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).


Air Quaity in Western PA: What You Need to Know

Water Quality: What has Flint Taught Us?

Home Sweet Home: Making It Healthy

The Unintended Health Consquences of Progress

Ensuring Environmental Protection for All

Connecting our Health to the Natural World

Creating Healthy Environments for our Children

Food in Western PA: The Building Block of our Future

Location: David Lawrence Convention Center

Date: October 6, 2016

Time: 8:30AM-4:00PM (Registration opens at 7:30 AM)

CEUs: Health Education, Nursing, Public Health

Cost: $30 

(Scholarships and student rates are available. Contact WHE's office for more information - 412-404-2872 or email