MIT professor Noelle Selin to speak at MIT – DUSP Health+Planning Lunch Series Thursday May 8th, 1:00-2:30pm in MIT 9-450A&B


Noelle Selin is the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor of Engineering Systems and Atmospheric Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research uses atmospheric chemistry modeling to inform decision-making on air pollution, climate change and hazardous substances such as mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). She holds a PhD from Harvard University in Earth and Planetary Sciencesas part of the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group, where she developed and evaluated a global, 3D model of mercury pollution. Prior to her current appointment at MIT, Dr. Selin was a research scientist with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.  In addition to her scientific work, she has published articles and book chapters on the interactions between science and policy in international environmental negotiations, in particular focusing on global efforts to regulate hazardous substances. Previously, she was a research associate with the Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability at Harvard’s Kennedy School, a visiting researcher at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked on chemicals issues at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Russ Lopez: Speaking about HEALTH+PLANNING at MIT on May 8th, 1:00-2:30pm in 9-450 A&B


Russ Lopez, a native of California, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University and his Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His doctorate is from the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health His research interests include urban environmental health and the role of the cities, neighborhoods, and the structure of the built environment in public health outcomes.  Current and past studies include the role of neighborhood in long term diet and exercise interventions, the influence of schoolyard renovations on student test scores and association between the neighborhood built environment and obesity.  Dr. Lopez has published articles on the health effects of racial segregation, income inequality and urban sprawl.  He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. 

Professor Ann Forsyth (Harvard GSD) to speak at DUSP, Friday March 7th, 12:30-2:00pm in Room 9-354

Professor Ann Forsyth:

Photograph of Ann Forsyth (photo taken by Sarah Subin)

Trained in planning and architecture, Ann Forsyth works mainly on the social aspects of physical planning and urban development. The big issue behind her research and practice is how to make more sustainable and healthy cities. Forsyth’s contributions have been to analyze the success of planned alternatives to sprawl, particularly exploring the tensions between social and ecological values in urban design.

Several issues prove to be the most difficult to deal with in planning better places and provide a focus for some of her more detailed investigations: suburban design, walkability, affordable housing, social diversity, and appropriate green space. In doing this work she has created a number of tools and methods in planning—an urban design inventory, GIS protocols, health impact assessments, and participatory planning techniques.

Forsyth is also a reflective practitioner/theorist and has created several new ways of understanding social and intellectual diversity in planning and design. Her education includes a B.Sc. in architecture from the University of Sydney, M.A. in urban planning and Ph.D. in city and regional planning from Cornell.



Design for Health :

Dr. Morteza Asgarzadeh (Harvard School of Public Health) to speak at DUSP, Friday March 7th, 12:30-2:00pm in Room 9-354


Research Fellow

Department of Nutrition

Building 2, Room 322
655 Huntington Avenue

Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Asgarzadeh considers the built environment as an exposure in his health-related research. He focuses on developing healthy environments that will feature less stressful elements and encourage various forms of physical activity including bicycling. He has over 10 years of experience designing and constructing, consulting, and conducting research on the properties of the built environments. In his Ph.D. research in the Department of Architecture at Tokyo University, he studied the intersection of health, Environment and Behavior (relationships between human behavior and the natural and built environment) and Urban Design (process of designing and shaping cities and towns). Dr. Asgarzadeh has extensive training in GIS and has used his skills to study heat islands in Tokyo and planning sites in Iran. Due to his research interests on the impacts of the built environment on health, he partners with individuals in public health and related fields to find ways of building safer and more attractive environments for people to live and have meaningful physical activity.

MBTA Health Impact Assessment

At our last HEALTH+PLANNING@DUSP event in February, Peter James and Mariana Arcaya shared their research on a health impact assessment completed on the MBTA for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in 2012 (with relevant policy implications for today!) Here is a link to full study!

Looking forward to seeing some of you at part 2 of our speaker series, coming up Friday March 7th from 12:30-2pm in MIT Building 9-354.

Q&A to follow. Lunch will be served.

Peter James to speak at DUSP, Tuesday Feb 4th 12:30-2pm

About Peter James:
Public Health Research Analyst,
Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Peter James has worked at MAPC since November of 2011. Peter researches and writes health impact assessments and aids with the research and coordination of the agency’s public health projects.

Current Activities:

Peter coordinates research and evaluation for MAPC’s public health projects. He recently completed a health impact assessment evaluating the health effects of the MBTA service cuts and fare increases and is developing a number of health impact assessments for upcoming planning projects and policies. Additionally, Peter aids with the $1.6 million Community Transformation Grant for Middlesex County, awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This grant is aimed at helping communities in Middlesex County tackle the root causes of chronic disease, particularly smoking, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition.

Past Experience:

Prior to joining MAPC, Peter worked as an environmental consultant preparing environmental impact assessments and conducted literature reviews on health issues for the Institute of Medicine.

Education and Professional Affiliations:

Peter completed his doctoral degree in the Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. His research interest is estimating the impact of the built environment on health, spanning from issues components of building design to aspects of transportation and urban planning.

His dissertation focuses on quantifying the effects of measures of the built environment, such as sprawl, land-use mix, residential density, and street connectivity, on physical activity, body mass index, cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and mortality. Peter earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Earth and Environmental Sciences and the History and Sociology of Science and holds a Master of Health Sciences degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Peter has served as Chair of the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Urban Planning and Public Health and President of the Harvard School of Public Health Environmental Health and Sustainability Club. He was also a member of the Harvard University Council of Student Sustainability Leaders and the Harvard School of Public Health Climate and Health Forum and sits on the Board of Directors for Groundwork Somerville, a Nonprofit Organization focused on sustainable community development in Somerville, MA. Peter is a member of the American Public Health Association, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, the Society for Epidemiologic Research, and the International Society for Indoor Air Quality.

Areas of Expertise

Public health, health impact assessment, epidemiology, environmental health.