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Environment Section Awards

We have some brilliant people in our Section, and it is important to us that we recognize them for their contributions to environmental health.

Homer N. Calver Award & Lecture — This award recognizes an environmental health expert, usually of national renown, who has contributed significantly to the field. The award recipient will provide a special lecture at the APHA Annual Meeting.

Rebecca A. Head Award — This new award recognizes an outstanding emerging leader from the environmental health field working at the nexus of science, policy and environmental justice. The award honors Rebecca A. Head, PhD, DABT, an influential leader in the Environment Section and APHA, and indomitable voice for local public health, equity and justice.

Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award — This award recognizes cross-cutting collaborative work that has enhanced or increased understanding of economic security, ecological conservation, culture or health.

Distinguished Service Award — This award recognizes a Section member who provides noteworthy and important contributions to the Section.


2023 Award Winners

Homer N. Calver Award: Doug Farquhar is an attorney with 30 years experience working with policy makers on environmental health issues. Primarily working with state legislatures, he has testified 60times before legislative committees in 36 states, in addition to consulting with state agency staff in every state on enlightening state policy makers. In April 2020, he began as the director of Government Affairs for the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). Prior to coming to NEHA, Doug directed the environmental health program for the National Conference of State Legislatures. He has worked in the Texas House of Representatives for the Natural Resources and Appropriations Committees and for Congressman Schaefer on Capitol Hill in Washington. He is adjunct professor in the University of Denver graduate school of Environmental Policy and Management and is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Rebecca A. Head Award: Dr. Natasha DeJarnett is the Deputy Director for Environmental Justice Data and Evaluation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Most recently, Dr. DeJarnett served as an assistant professor in the Christina Lee Brown Environment Institute at the University of Louisville Division of Environmental Medicine researching the health impacts of extreme heat exposure and environmental health disparities. She also a longtime active APHA member, serving as a past Program Planner and Chair-Elect of the Environment Section. 

Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award: Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks is a nationally-recognized leader in engaging urban communities and youth of color in environmental stewardship through hands-on watershed and land restoration initiatives, environmental education, and training. In 2001, Jelks co-founded the Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® Program, a National Wildlife Federation program that connects urban youth to nature, civic engagement, and leadership development. She is an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and the board chairperson for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, an organization that she helped found. She was named a White House Champion of Change in 2014.

Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Theodora Tsongas has been a member of APHA since 1977. She has an MA and PhD in Anthropology and an MS in Epidemiology. She has served as an Environmental Health Scientist/Epidemiologist at Federal and State environmental and public health agencies, evaluating exposures and adverse health effects of toxic environmental contaminants, and has held teaching appointments at three universities. Her focus in the past few years has been on climate disruption and, as a member of local health and environmental coalitions, on preventing the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the Northwest through providing reviews and testimony on the scientific basis for rejecting these threats to public health and the environment. As a member of the Environment Section she has recently contributed to the development of two APHA policy statements published this year. She continues her work to advocate for local and national policy changes to reduce fossil fuel emissions, threats to health from environmental pollution, and the worsening health impacts of climate disruption.

Recent Past Award Winners


Homer N. Calver Award:  

2015: Jonathan Patz

2016: Lynn Goldman

2017: Gina McCarthy

2018: Wayne Casio

2019: Linda Rudolph

2020: Lisa Jackson

2021: Tracey Woodruff

2022: Jalonne White-Newsome

Rebecca A. Head Award: 

2016: Mona Hanna-Attisha

2017: Natalie Sampson

2018: Vanessa Galaviz

2019: Yukyan Lam

2020: Ana Mascarenas

2021: Michele Okoh

2022: Julian Drix

Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award: 

2015: Sacoby Wilson

2016: Suzanne Condon

2017: Mildred McClain

2018: mark! Lopez

2019: Mustafa Santiago Ali

2020: Margaret Gordon

2021: Brenda & Omega Wilson

2022: María Belén Power

Distinguished Service Award:

2016: Kacee Deener

2017: Leyla McCurdy

2018: Megan Latshaw

2019: Aaron Guest

2020: Trish Koman

2021: Jyotsna Jagai

2022: Raquel Silva