Montira Pongsiri was the first Science Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), based in Jakarta, where she led the Mission’s efforts to apply science and technology to support ASEAN’s sustainability goals and to improve the capacity and quality of science-based policy making. She developed science programming including a sustainable cities partnership to support climate adaptation and resilience planning, as well as the U.S.-ASEAN Science and Technology Fellows Program aimed at improving science capacity in ASEAN member countries.
She was on assignment at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN from her base at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development in Washington, DC. As an Environmental Health Scientist at the EPA, Dr. Pongsiri developed an interdisciplinary research initiative on biodiversity and human health. She was the agency’s lead on partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution focused on biodiversity-health research and education / outreach activities. Dr. Pongsiri also led EPA’s partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative to apply science-based tools to support community resilience.
As a long-time contributor to the development of HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages) and as a member of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, Dr. Pongsiri brings expertise on the links between environmental change and human health. Montira earned her Masters of Environmental Studies (MES) at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, her Masters of Public Health (MPH) at Yale’s School of Public Health and PhD at Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She majored in neuroscience as an undergraduate at Oberlin College.
“For me, planetary health represents a much needed multidisciplinary approach to understand complex environmental change-human health challenges critical to long-term sustainability. Planetary Health also presents the opportunity to address interlinked environmental change-human health challenges in a new way – by focusing on prevention – looking upstream at the drivers of environmental change which can lead to adverse human health impacts at multiple scales.”