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Steering Committe

The activities of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments are guided by our Board of Directors and Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is comprised of all of the Board Members, Chairs of our Forums, environmental health nurse leaders, and representatives from a number of national nursing organizations. If you would like more information on the Steering Committee please contact Katie Huffling – ANHE Executive Director: 


Steering Committee

Adelita G. Cantu

Adeita G. Cantu, PhD, RN is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Nursing. Dr. Cantu has extensive experience as a public health nurse working in the community through collaboration to ensure equitable health, particularly in minority, low income communities. Dr. Cantu’s environmental justice work involves teaching the next generation of health care professionals about climate change as a public health issue, as well as teaching low income youth about climate change and working with local policy makers to understand climate change and its inequitable burden to vulnerable, low income communities.

Anabell Castro Thompson

Anabell Castro Thompson, MSN, APRN, ANP-C, FAAN, FAANP is a Nurse Practitioner and Senior Vice President of Health Equity at Equality Health.  

A Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Anabell’s leadership exemplifies sustained commitment towards improving healthcare for vulnerable and underserved communities, especially Latino Communities. Determined to bridge health care disparities, she is responsible for building and managing innovative programs and strategic initiatives around Cultural Care Models and the Social Determinants of Health.  

Anabell is passionate about principles of environmental justice and climate equity and had the enormous pleasure to participate with Jane Fonda’s Fire Drills Friday’s – Climate and Health Session in December 2019.  

Anabell is Immediate Past President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and serves on multiple national boards, including ANHE and ecoAmerica Health Leadership Circle.  She has been honored as a distinguished alumni by both her alma maters—the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

Daniel Smith

Daniel J. Smith, PhD, RN, CNE is a doctorally prepared nurse and the Weingarten Endowed Assistant Professors at Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. During my PhD Studies, I was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, Cohort 5. My overarching research interest lies at the intersection of understanding the effects of climate change on the health outcomes of disenfranchised populations and how we can build climate resilience and adaptation skills in communities & health systems. In addition to my scholarship, I have worked clinical with multiple refugee and immigrant populations in the primary care setting. I am excited to be the co-chair of ANHE’s climate change committee and hope to bring my skills to advance the mission of the committee and the organization.

Aaron Salinas

 is an Assistant Professor and the BSN Program Coordinator at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg Texas. He has been in Academia for 7 years. In addition to his role with the School of Nursing . Dr. Salinas is a Nurse Practitioner with Board Certifications as a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. He is part of the UT Health Rio Grande Valley Team and sees patients at the University Health Center and does consultation work with a local psychiatrist and a pediatrician in the Rio Grande Valley. He is involved in many organizations at the local, state and national level where he serves on many of the organizations as a board member. 

Adrienne Wald

Adrienne Wald, EdD, MBA, RN, MCHES, CNE is an associate professor of nursing at the College of New Rochelle/Mercy College in New York teaching health promotion, research, and leadership. Her clinical background is in oncology nursing and she has served as a health services administrator at the American Red Cross (Greater New York).  A longtime tobacco control advocate, she works to advance health policy for disease prevention and wellness, and promote social justice. Dr. Wald’s research interests include weight management and physical activity epidemiology. She is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) currently serving as an evidence analyst for a position statement on exertional heat-related illness, is a member of the Exercise is Medicine™ Education Committee, and the Exercise is Medicine on Campus® initiative. She is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Her research has been published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology NursingAmerican Journal of Health Promotion, and Journal of Nursing Scholarship and Nursing Economic$. She holds a Doctor of Education (EdD) from Teachers College Columbia University, MBA in healthcare management, and BSN from Boston University (1997). Adrienne has competed in a dozen marathons from NY to LA, including Marine Corps, Chicago and Philadelphia, qualifying for 6 Boston Marathons, and running it five times. She was head coach of the College of New Rochelle Blue Angels women’s country team for five years and has served as a medical race volunteer and  race director.

Anne Hulick

Anne, RN, MS, JD is the Connecticut Director of Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund and focuses on passing health protective policies aimed at mitigating climate change by promoting energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy, protecting our waters and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals. Anne started her career as a critical care nurse and then as nursing director. She holds a BSN from the University of Hartford and a MS in administration from UCONN. Recognizing that the healthcare system focused on treatment rather than prevention and the links between human impact on the environment and health, Anne pursued a juris doctorate from Western New England College School of Law in order to combine nursing, health policy and the law. She was admitted to the CT Bar in October 2007. Prior to joining Clean Water Action, she served as the environmental health coordinator for the CT Nurses’ Association and was an environmental analyst at CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Azita Amiri

Dr. Azita Amiri, PhD, RN is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, College of Nursing, and a Bloomberg Fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Amiri is a nurse scientist with an interest in Public Health and Environmental Justice. She reaches out to environmental justice communities and educates them about potential environmental exposures and ways to mitigate the exposure. Furthermore, she measures indoor air quality in residential and occupational settings and studies the common indoor air exposures, their concentrations and sources, and their impact on pregnancy outcomes, child health, and well-being of the elderly.

Barbara Sattler

Dr. Sattler is a Professor at the University of San Francisco (USF) and an international leader in environmental health and nursing. She is a founding and active member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.   

At USF, she teaches environmental health in the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health Programs.  Prior to her position at USF, Dr. Sattler was at the University of Maryland for 25 years where she directed the Environmental Health Education Center in the School of Nursing.   Over the years, Dr. Sattler has lead projects on lead poisoning prevention, greening hospitals, sustainable agriculture, climate change, children’s environmental health, and faculty development programs in environmental health.

She has been an advisor to the US EPA’s Office of Child Health Protection and the National Library of Medicine for informational needs of health professionals on environmental health.  Dr. Sattler has been the PI on a host of grants from NIEHS, HUD, and the EPA.   She helped to found Health Care Without Harm, a national organization focused on greening the health care sector.   She is the author of Environmental Health and Nursing, and many peer-reviewed articles.    Dr. Sattler is a Registered Nurse with an MPH and DrPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Cara Cook

Director of Programs

Cara Cook, MS, RN, AHN-BC (she, her) is the Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Her work focuses on elevating climate and health as a national priority by engaging nursing organizations and individual nurses in climate and health advocacy, education, and practice change. Prior to joining ANHE, Cara was a Local Care Coordinator with Healthways-Sharecare, Inc., coordinating care for high-risk patients in partnership with their primary care physicians as part of an insurance-based Patient-Centered Medical Home program. She has experience in critical care nursing working in both medical and trauma intensive care. Cara holds a Master’s in Community/Public Health Nursing through the University of Maryland.

Elizabeth Joseph

Elizabeth Joseph, APRN-BC, MPH is a Nurse Practitioner and an Educator working at one of the largest hospitals (Jackson Health System-JHS) in Florida for 30 years. She is the coordinator for Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS) at JHS.

Ms. Joseph has volunteered in Haiti on three separate occasions after the 2010 earthquake and has contributed over 1000 hours of her time to develop nursing content and training guidelines for staff and administration at Bernard Mev hospital, Port O Prince, Haiti.  While pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, she completed an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

In 2019, Ms. Joseph attained a Sustainable Development Certificate from Harvard University and her research interests lie in the field of Climate Emergency and its impacts on health. She is a certified climate speaker from the CLEO institute (Miami) and has delivered several presentations on Climate Change and its impact on health nationally and internationally. She is one of the founding member and the co-chair of the Climate Committee at her hospital.  Her other interests lie in the field of Ecotourism, with the main objective being to promote health and wellbeing for tourists, park and lodge staff and local communities. She has conducted on-site research on Ecolodges in four continents.

Elizabeth Schenk

Elizabeth Schenk, PhD, RN, FAAN is the Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship for Providence, a health system with over 50 hospitals and 1000 clinics. She is instrumental in helping advance the organization toward its goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030, through the conservation of resources, education, and research.

Beth is assistant research professor at Washington State University College of Nursing. She led the development of CHANT: Climate and Health Tool, measuring health professionals’ awareness and engagement with climate change and health. CHANT has been translated to several languages and used in over 30 nations. She developed the WE ACT Framework (Waste, Energy/water, Agriculture/food, Chemicals, Transportation) to organize the extensive range of environmental stewardship, while motivating action.

As a board member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, she hosts the Nurses for Healthy Environments podcast. She is on the boards of Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate and Climate Smart Missoula.

Beth has been honored with the Charlotte Brody Award, as a distinguished alumnus from the University of Montana, and as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Jeanne Leffers

Jeanne Leffers, PhD, RN, FAAN worked as a public health nurse in Tennessee and Virginia and has taught nursing for more than 30 years in Tennessee, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Currently she is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth College of Nursing where she taught in the BS, MS and PhD programs and served as Graduate Program Director. Much of her career has been spent in teaching and practice in community/public health nursing and she served on the National Executive Board of ACHNE (Association of Community Health Nursing Educators) and with the American Public Health Association, Public Health Nursing Section.  Her special interests within community/public health are environmental health and global health where she focused her teaching, research and service. In her global health work, she has been a nurse volunteer in Uganda, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti, also serving as a faculty mentor to more than 100 UMass Dartmouth and University of Rhode Island nursing students on global service learning trips.  She currently serves on the Steering Committee for Nursing Education at Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), as the former HVO nursing education coordinator for Uganda and the Sigma Theta Tau International Service Task Force. Dr. Leffers co-authored the book Volunteering at Home and Abroad: Essential Guide for Nurses (2011 ), co-edited the book Global Health Nursing: Building and Sustaining Partnerships (2014), and is an author/editor of the ANHE Environmental Health in Nursing textbook.  She served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) from 2012-2017 where she chaired the Social Determinants of Health workgroup. 

Joanna Fisher-Whilden

Joanna Fisher-Whilden, MA, BSN, is a registered nurse living in Durham, North Carolina. She has over ten years of experience in environmental policy, communications, and grassroots organizing. She led community outreach campaigns for the US Forest Service and National Park Service and communications campaigns for the Trust for Public Land. Joanna has worked extensively to incorporate public health into national conversations on conservation and access to parks and public lands, and has led coalitions to pass federal legislation to protect and expand our shared public lands. Joanna is passionate about maternal fetal health and has worked as a registered nurse in obstetrics and neonatal intensive care units. She holds a BA from Colby College, MA from American University’s School of International Service, and BSN from Duke University School of Nursing. She is also a yoga instructor, distance runner, amateur potter, and mom.

Karen Duderstadt

Karen G. Duderstadt PhD, RN is a Clinical Professor Emerita at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing. She is the past Director of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program. She completed her PhD at UCSF in Nursing & Health Policy in 2006, and her research focused on Access to Care for low-income Children. She is a founding member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) and has served on the Steering Committee and the Policy and Advocacy Committee working on environmental and chemical policy reform. She was a Health Policy Fellow with the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment in 2012 and presented on an EPA panel on the impact of chemical policy on children’s health. She has presented and published on a wide range of child health policy topics and environmental health issues nationally including access to care for children living in low-income families, the impact of childhood overweight and obesity on the health care system, the impact of chemical policy on children’s health, and on tobacco policy and impact on youth.

Kathy Curtis

Kathleen Curtis, LPN, Team Leader of the Cumulative Impacts/Mandatory Emission Reductions team at Coming Clean, has 35 years of experience in the environmental health movement and is a widely recognized national leader whose policy expertise is in high demand. Her leadership has guided enactment of several local, state and federal policies regulating toxic chemicals. She is a founding Board member and co-coordinates the Policy and Advocacy Forum of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. She is Founding Emeritus Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York. She was Senior Development Consultant at Healthy Building Network, co-coordinator of the JustGreen Partnership. co-leader of the Coming Clean Collaborative’s Policy Workgroup, and Executive Director at Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, where she was an author of Building Green without Going in the Red. Previously, she was Outreach Director at Environmental Planning Lobby (now Environmental Advocates of NY) and worked as a nurse.

Kathy is the recipient of Health Care Without Harm’s 2015 Charlotte Brody Award, Coming Clean’s Outstanding Leadership Award, and the Children’s Environmental Health Champion Award from the NYS Children’s Environmental Health Centers. She is an author of numerous reports, including Is It In Us? Toxic Trespass, Regulatory Failure and Opportunities for Action; and Hazardous Chemicals in Health Care – A Snapshot of Chemicals in Doctors and Nurses. She is on the steering committees of the New York Sustainable Business Council, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and Rotterdam Conservation Advisory Council.

Katie Huffling

Executive Director

Katie Huffling, DNP, RN, CNM, FAAN (she, her) is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and is the Executive Director the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Ms. Huffling works with nurses and national nursing organizations on a variety of environmental health issues including climate change, chemical policy, inclusion of environmental health into nursing education, and sustainable healthcare. Ms. Huffling has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on environmental health issues and was an editor of the recently released environmental health e-textbook “Environmental Health in Nursing” which won the 2017 AJN Book of the Year in Environmental Health.

Kelly Jones

Dr. Kelly K Jones, PhD, RN is passionate about ensuring that all neighborhoods are safe places to live, grow, and thrive. She brings to nursing research a background in both engineering and development, and unwavering faith that people, science, and hard work can build incredible things.

Kelly conducts environmental exposure research in the Neighborhood and Health Lab of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health*. She has particular expertise in the measurement of exposure at the individual level, and her work is currently focused on the inequitable effects of climate change across urban spaces.

Kelly is a graduate of the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the School of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Colorado School of Mines. When not engaged in nursing research, she can be found hiking with her dog or cooking delicious meals with her partner.

Dr. Jones is serving in her personal capacity.

Maryam Hamidi

Maryam Hamidi, PhD, RN is a highly experienced nurse researcher and educator. She has over 20 years of clinical experience as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse. Dr. Hamidi earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Babol Medical University, her Masters in Public Health from Pennsylvania State University, her PhD in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research focuses on microbial colonization in newborns and the impacts of climate change on infant mortality.

Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams

Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams, PhD, RN has practiced nursing for over 50 years as a Critical Care Nurse, Educator, Advocate and Administrator. For over four decades, Dr. Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams has fearlessly advanced the profession of nursing through advocacy, education, and leadership. Dr. Williams has taught four generations of Nurses in the State of Connecticut and has served on multiple statewide committees to advance the practice of nursing. She has influenced nurses to become more critically aware and politically involved in policy making at both the state and national levels. Her many accomplishments include advocating expanding the scope of practice for advanced practice RNs in Connecticut, helping to implement an assistance program for health care professionals, and obtaining increased funding for nursing and expanding enrollment in schools of nursing. Nationally, Dr. Williams was launched into a position of national leadership assisting nurses from around the country by serving on the steering committee that created the National Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and continuing to serve as one of its policy advisors. Dr. Williams is the recipient of multiple awards. Among the most recent is the Mary Jane M. Williams Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her contributions to the nursing profession and health care.

Nelson Tuazon

Nelson Tuazon, DNP, DBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, CPPS, CPHQ, CPXP, FNAP, FACHE, FAAN has a successful track record in nursing practice, academia, and executive leadership. Dr. Tuazon’s involvement in professional associations and boards has influenced nursing practice, nursing education, and public policy. He was the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (now the Journal of Nursing Practice Applications and Reviews of Research). He serves as a peer reviewer of the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice. As founder of the San Antonio Nursing Consortium and Board Member of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, he actively participates in public awareness campaigns, including the Stop-the-Bleed Program and humanitarian projects related to climate change in the Philippines. He serves as adjunct faculty at Excelsior University and UT Health San Antonio. His interests in the Environmental Health Nurse Fellowship focus on integrating environmental health and environmental justice into nursing practice, curriculum, public education, and health policy. Dr Tuazon is also Vice President & Associate Chief Nursing Officer at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.

Robyn Gilden

Dr. Robyn Gilden is an Assistant Professor in CPH Nursing and Director of the Environmental Health Certificate at University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON). She serves on the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Steering Committee and Research Work Group. Prior to obtaining her PhD, she gained mastery of environmental health concepts through her post-master’s certificate in Environmental Health and work as a program manager in the Environmental Health Education Center. She worked in two staff positions in the role of community outreach and technical assistant for the Hazardous Substance Research Center for Region 3 and then for and the Alliance of Nurses of Healthy Environments (ANHE) while it was located at UMSON. Dr. Gilden’s research interests include pesticide exposure and protecting unborn babies, infants, and children from exposure in the community. Her overarching goal is to assess pesticide exposure and related health effects in community children and develop interventions to reduce or prevent exposures. This goal is divided into two veins and she has received internal and foundation funding to support this endeavor, including several internal Designated Research Initiative Fund awards (DRIF), the Dean’s Research Scholar (DRS), and an UMB Institute for Clinical & Translational Research (ICTR) award.

Ruth McDermott-Levy

Dr. Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN is an associate professor at Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing and Co-director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment. She has extensive community health nursing practice experience. Ruth served as the Director of the College of Nursing’s Center for Global and Public Health for 6 years. She has worked with Arab immigrant families in Philadelphia and families living in fracking communities of Northeastern Pennsylvania to study, educate, and reduce environmental health risks for each group. She is recognized as an expert in environmental health nursing education and has authored several publications regarding implementing environmental and climate health into the nursing curricula. She is an editor of the 2017 AJN awarded Book of the Year, Environmental Health in Nursing. In 2018 Ruth lived in Finland as a Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Health and Environmental Sciences Scholar where she conducted research and taught at the University of Eastern Finland. She has been an invited speaker at Global Climate & Health Summit, in conjunction with COP24, Katowice, Poland in 2018 and at International Nurses Day at the United Nations in 2019. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Charlotte Brody Award for environmental health nursing leadership and Sigma Theta Tau International, Alpha Nu Chapter Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award. Ruth is committed to assuring healthy environments for children and their families.

Tom Engle


Tom Engle, MN, RN is mostly retired. His past work history includes County Health Director, County Mental Health Director, and Community Liaison Director Oregon Health Division. He was the chair of the organization of county health departments in Oregon for 10 years. He is on the board of the Oregon Public Health Association, Co-Chairs the Oregon Action Future of Nursing group, is on a County health department advisory board and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health advisory board. He is on the APHA Governing Council. He has been on the board of the Association of Public Health Nurses. He facilitated passing the first local tobacco ordinances in Oregon. He was an early chair of the Oregon Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition, and was an early scholar of the National Public Health Leadership Institute.

Suellen Breakey

Suellen Breakey, PhD, RN, is Associate Director of the Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health and a Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions. She teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Practice and accelerated BSN programs. Her clinical background includes cardiac surgery, critical care, hospice care, and global health nursing.

For over 10 years, she was a leader with Team Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides RHD screening, cardiac surgical care and follow-up, and patient/provider education in Rwanda.

Her scholarship interests include the impact of climate change on human health and well-being, bioethics, and global health ethics. Dr. Breakey is a co-author of Global Nursing in the 21st Century, which was published in 2015. She co-chaired the National League for Nursing’s 2022 Vision Statement on Climate Change and Health. Dr. Breakey has published widely and presented locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Tia Wackerhagen, RN, BSN

After careers as a financial planner and then a transition to director of development for nonprofit organizations, in 2016 Tia Wackerhagen returned to school to pursue her passion in healthcare. After graduating summa cum laude from Queens University Presbyterian School of Nursing in Charlotte North Carolina, Tia is now a registered nurse for Roof Above serving individuals who have recently come out of chronic homelessness. Tia is passionate about equality not only in health care, but in food systems. To further strengthen this passion, Tia is pursuing her doctorate in nursing practice in family nurse practitioner specialty at East Carolina University. Tia has a loving family in which she enjoys spending time camping, hiking and kayaking with. She also enjoys raising her backyard chickens and trying year after year for a successful home veggie garden but never quite meeting that goal.

Teddie Potter

Teddie M. Potter, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP is deeply committed to climate change and planetary health education. Dr. Potter is the inaugural director of the Center for Planetary Health and Environmental Justice at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota and a Fellow in the Institute on the Environment at the University. She is a member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the American Academy of Nursing Environment and Public Health Expert Panel. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of Columbia University’s Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, and the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA). She also chairs Clinicians for Planetary Health (C4PH) for the PHA. She serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the US Health Sector; the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM); and the Climate Crossroads committee of NASEM. Her most recent work is founding with the International Council of Nurses, Nursing for Planetary Health, a global nursing movement.