All Speakers

Keynote Speakers

downloadChristine Loh, SBS, JP, OBE

Christine Loh currently works as Chief Development Strategist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She was Under Secretary for the Environment in the HKSAR Government (2012-17) and a Member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (1992-97 and 1998-2000). Loh has been active in public policy and politics since the 1980s. She founded and was the CEO of the non-profit think tank, Civic Exchange (2000-2012), and helped to established several non-profit organizations in Hong Kong related to the environment, equal opportunity, arts and culture, as well as human rights. In her Keynote, Loh will be discussing the concept of “Ecological Civilization.”

Nainoa-portrait-1024x682Nainoa Thompson, President and Founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and PWO navigator

Nainoa Thompson has reintroduced the Polynesian art of ocean navigation to the world and dedicated his life to exploring the deep meaning of voyaging. More recently, he has led voyages around the world in order to spread the word about the importance of caring for our planet Earth and our connection to Nature’s roots. He is now inspiring the younger generations to take the lead in our fight against the largest ecological threats today. He will be our closing keynote speaker at this year’s conference.

rebecca Rebecca Shaw, MEP, PhD

Rebecca Shaw is Chief Scientist of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she works with global partners to identify the most important and timely scientific questions that challenge the organization’s mission and advance solutions to those challenges. Prior to joining WWF’s leadership team, she worked at the Environmental Defense Fund, where she was responsible for developing and implementing the vision and strategy of the Land, Water & Wildlife program. Before that, she served as director of conservation science and associate state director at the Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter. She is a lead author of the section of the 2014 IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report that focuses on impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, and serves as a member of the California Climate Adaptation Advisory Panel. She has also researched the impacts of climate change on conservation at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. Shaw holds a master’s degree in environmental policy and a Ph.D. in energy and resources, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

Plenary Speakers

“Cities and the Planet: How Urban Ecosystems Impact the Planet” (Day 1)


Jo-Ivey-Boufford Photo

Jo Ivey Boufford, MD

Jo Ivey Boufford, M.D., is President of the International Society for Urban Health (2017-9) and Clinical Professor of Global Public Health at the College of Global Public Health at New York University and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the NYU School of Medicine. She is the immediate past president of the New York Academy of Medicine (2007-2018) and served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from November 1993 to January 1997, and as Acting Assistant Secretary from January 1997 to May 1997. While at HHS, she was the U.S. representative on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) from 1994–1997. She was elected to membership in the US National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM) in 1992 and served on its Board on Global Health and served two four year terms as its Foreign Secretary from 2003 to 2011. She currently co-chairs the NAM Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for Global Health. She was elected to membership of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2015.

David Vlahov

David Vlahov, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Vlahov is Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Yale School of Nursing and Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Vlahov was Director of the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies at the New York Academy of Medicine and the founding President of the International Society for Urban Health. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Urban Health, has edited four books on urban health, and has published over 666 scholarly papers. He led the Rockefeller Foundation project on the Roundtable for Urban Living Environment Research (RULER) on urban health metrics and a member of the WHO Knowledge Network for Urban Settlements as part of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. He served on the New York City Board of Health, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine currently serving of the Institute’s Board of Global Health.

Olga Lucia Sarmiento - medicina centro practica _ Nov 24_-11 Olga Lucia Sarmiento, PhD

Olga L. Sarmiento is a Professor of the Department of Public Health at the School of Medicine at Universidad de Los Andes (Bogota, Colombia). Dr. Sarmiento research interests include urban health, healthy behaviors, built environment and community interventions among the populations of children and adults in Latin America. Dr. Sarmiento has been a board member of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health and the Global Advocacy for Physical Activity (GAPA) council, the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean and The International Society of Urban Health. She is currently a researcher of international studies including the Urban Health in Latin America project (SALURBAL), the International Physical Activity, and Environment Network (IPEN), The International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment (ISCOLE) the Stanford-Colombia Collaboratory on Chronic Disease (S-C3) and the Our Voice in the city project in Bogotá.


John Rossant

John Rossant is the Founder and Chairman of NewCities, a global non-profit institution dedicated to improving the quality of life and work in cities. He is also leading CoMotion, the global annual event on the future of urban mobility, which takes place in the heart of Los Angeles and Miami. John previously led the production of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland and of the e-G8.


“Can the Private Sector Drive Change?” (Day 1)



Gretchen Daily, PhD

Gretchen Daily is Bing Professor of Environmental Science, Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology, and faculty director of the Natural Capital Project.
Daily’s research is on understanding the dynamics of change in the biosphere, their implications for human well-being, and the deep societal transformations needed to secure people and nature. Through the Natural Capital Project, she works extensively with governments, multilateral development banks, businesses, communities, and NGOs. A global partnership that is integrating the values of nature into policy, finance and management globally, its tools and approaches are now used in 185 nations through the Natural Capital Platform. The partnership is increasingly focused on advancing understanding of nature’s contributions to human health. For scalable successes to date, see the forthcoming book, Green Growth that Works: Natural Capital Policy and Finance Mechanisms from Around the World (Island Press, Sept 2019).



John Fullerton

John Fullerton is an unconventional economist, impact investor, writer, and some have said philosopher.  He is the founder of the Capital Institute, and author of “Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Patterns and Principles Will Shape the New Economy” (2015), and, “Finance for A Regenerative World” (2019). After a 20-year career on Wall Street where he was a Managing Director of what he calls “the old JPMorgan,” John listened to a persistent inner voice and walked away in 2001 with no plan but many questions.  The questions crystalized into the creation of the Capital Institute in 2010, which is dedicated to the bold reimagination of economics and finance in alignment with living systems principles and the wisdom traditions that have stood the test of time. John is the Chairman of New Day Enterprises, PBC, a co-founder of Grasslands, LLC, a board member of the Savory Institute, Stone Acres Farm, and First Crop, PBC and is an adviser to numerous sustainability related initiatives.

“Mobilizing a Planetary Health Movement” (Day 1)



Sandy Naranjo

Sandy Naranjo was born and raised in San Ysidro and resides in National City with her husband Andrew McKercher and their children, Frida Ruth and Julius Joseph. Sandy pursued three bachelors’ degrees in honors with major concentrations on Political Science, Political Economy and Economics along with a minor certificate in Women’s studies from CSU San Bernardino. After graduation, Sandy worked in organized labor for 6 years and transitioned her career in the environmental justice movement at Environmental Health Coalition (EHC). At EHC, where she worked with community members to create healthy land use policies in order to transition their community from one that is overburdened with toxic pollution to a healthy thriving one. Sandy is currently the California Organizing Manager at Mothers Out Front where she is focused on mobilizing moms, grandmothers, and caregivers to create policies to end the climate crisis.



Emmanuela Shinta

Emmanuela Shinta is a Dayak leader, activist, environmentalist, filmmaker and writer with a reputation for leading and empowering young people. Her work has been recognized widely in Asia Pacific through her YOUTH ACT CAMPAIGN, an indigenous youth movement for climate action as the response to forest fire and haze in 2015. With organization called Ranu Welum Foundation which she founded in 2016, she has trained hundreds young indigenous people to use audiovisual media to speak about indigenous people’s rights. She has been speaking in international forums about Dayak people and bringing the stories from the Kalimantan Island to global audience through films and her book ME, MODERNISM AND MY INDIGENOUS ROOTS. She is the founder of the series of International Indigenous Film Festival in South East Asia. In 2018, Shinta has started her first world storytelling tour with theme Stories That Matter in the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia countries

“Burn: Wildfires, Deforestation, and Planetary Health  (Day 2)


Kari_Nadeau Kari Nadeau

(Panel Organizer) “Wildfires are ravaging the planet. There is no safe distance from a wildfire. All parts of the health of our planets are affected: earth, air, water, flora, and fauna. We are excited about our wildfire symposium to discuss how to mitigate and adapt to wildfires using novel approaches around the globe.”

Ruth_Defries.jpg Ruth DeFries, PhD

Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University in New York. She uses images from satellites and field surveys to examine how the world’s demands for food and other resources are changing land use throughout the tropics. Her research quantifies how these land use changes affect climate, biodiversity and other ecosystem services, as well as human development. A particular focus of her work is in the globally-important tiger landscape of central India, with research that underpins management approaches to reconcile needs of both people and wildlife. She has also developed innovate education programs in sustainable development. DeFries was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, one of the country’s highest scientific honors, received a MacArthur “genius” award, and is the recipient of many other honors for her scientific research. In addition to over 100 scientific papers, she is committed to communicating the nuances and complexities of sustainable development to popular audiences, most recently through her book “The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis.”

1 - FOTO TASSO-baixa


Tasso Azevedo

Tasso Azevedo is a consultant and social entrepreneur in the fields of forests, sustainability and climate change and general coordinator of the System for Estimation of GHG Emissions (SEEG) and the Initiative for Annual Mapping of Land Cover in Brazil (MapBiomas). Tasso was founder and director of the Institute of Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification (IMAFLORA), Director of the National Forest Program at the Ministry of Environment, Secretary General of the National Forest Commission and former Chief & Director General of the Brazilian Forest Service. Tasso was one of the key people involved in the design and implementation the National Plan to Combat Deforestation in the Amazon, the Amazon Fund and the Brazilian targets to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. He is Brazil Lab Affiliated Scholar at Princeton University. In 2013 he won the Bright Award, Stanford University’s Global Sustainability Award, was a TED Global Lecturer in 2014 and a climate and forest consultant for the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

“Food Connects Land & Sea: Integrating Oceans into the Future of Food”  (Day 2)



Jorge Torre, PhD

Meet Jorge Torre, Ph.D. General Director and co-founder of Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (COBI,, a non-governmental organization that aims for marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries through effective participatory approaches. His work has focused on the development of integral research applied to solve problems in marine conservation and sustainable fishing, always accompanied by the production of science by fishers (citizen science). He has more than 50 scientific and general public collaborative publications. Currently, his interest is to achieve gender equality in the decision-making fisheries management processes and to identify the best way to transmit the knowledge of conservation and management generated in the last two decades to the new generation of fishers to adapt for the global changes that are impacting coastal communities daily.


Ling Cao, PhD

Ling Cao completed her Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Growing up on a family fish farm in China and trained as an agronomist and environmental scientist, Ling has focused on interdisciplinary research at the interface between sustainable seafood production and environmental conservation. She was selected as a recipient of the “National Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars,” an initiative of the Chinese government to attract high-level talent from overseas to work full-time in China. In addition, she was also selected as a fellow of the “Shanghai Thousand Talents Program” which aims to recruit top-talent who are leaders in their fields to help enhance Shanghai’s future development and sustainable competitiveness. Ling is now an associate professor in the School of Oceanography at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and continues to work on aquaculture and fisheries research and ocean conservation.

Roz_NaylorRosamond Naylor, PhD

Roz Naylor is the William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science, Professor (by courtesy) in Economics, and founding Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE) at Stanford University. She received her PhD from Stanford University in applied economics, her Masters in economics from the London School of Economics, and her Bachelors degree(s) in economics and environmental science from the University of Colorado. Her research focuses on policies and practices to improve global food security and protect the environment. She is currently engaged in a wide range of research initiatives that span oil palm production in Indonesia and West Africa, food-energy-water linkages in India, the impact of climate variability on global food security, and oceans and the future of food. In addition to her many peer-reviewed papers, Naylor has published two books on her work: “The Evolving Sphere of Food Security (Naylor, ed., 2014)” and “The Tropical Oil Crops Revolution: Food, Farmers, Fuels, and Forests” (Byerlee, Falcon, and Naylor, 2017). She is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and serves on the scientific advisory boards for Oceana and the Aspen Global Change Institute.

Jim_Leape.jpg Jim Leape, JD

Jim Leape is the William and Eva Price Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. He also serves as co-director of the Center for Ocean Solutions. From 2005 to 2014, he served as Director General of WWF International and leader of the global WWF Network, which is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, active in more than 100 countries. Before going to WWF International, Jim directed the conservation and science initiatives of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a leading philanthropy in the U.S.; he served as executive vice president of WWF-US in Washington, D.C.; and worked as a lawyer for the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. Jim serves on the boards of the Marine Stewardship Council, Mission 2020 and the Luc Hoffmann Institute, and on various advisory bodies of the World Economic Forum.

“NCDs and Planetary Health: Common Challenges and Co-Beneficial Solutions” (Day 2)



Herb Riband

Herb Riband is currently pursuing a one-year fellowship at Stanford University, with a primary focus on innovative global health and healthcare delivery models, connecting Stanford and Silicon Valley projects with health system leaders from around the world.  Herb has had a diverse 31-year international career with leadership roles in multinational enterprises in biotechnology (Amgen), medical technology (Medtronic), consumer goods (Diageo), consulting (Ernst & Young) and law (Baker & McKenzie).  He built international healthcare policy, government affairs, market access, strategic philanthropy, corporate communications and law functions. In particular, Herb co-led the launch of value-based healthcare delivery programs incorporating holistic “beyond the drug and device” solutions and promoting policies focused on measuring and improving patient health outcomes. He also built partnerships with health system stakeholders to accelerate patient access to appropriate therapies and to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs). A native of Philadelphia, Herb received degrees from Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School.  He is a citizen of the United States and Switzerland.

William_Dietz.jpgWilliam Dietz, PhD

Dr. Dietz is the Chair of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at School of Public Health at George Washington University. From 1997-2012 he was the Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. He received his BA from Wesleyan University in 1966 and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. He subsequently received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1998, Dr. Dietz was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Obesity’s 2019 report on the Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change. He is the author of over 200 publications in the scientific literature, and the editor of five books, including Clinical Obesity in Adults and Children.

GB. London. Wellcome Trust. Our Planet, Our Health Team. 2019.

Modi Mwatsama, MSc, DrPH.

Modi leads the Wellcome Trust Our Planet Our Health Programme’s research, partnership and policy work on healthy diets and sustainable food systems. Before joining Wellcome, she was Director of Policy and Global Health at the UK Health Forum. Modi played a major role in incorporating sustainability concerns into the UK government’s Eatwell Guide, and promoting sugar reduction in Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action. She was educated at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Kristie L. Ebi, PhD, MPH

Kristie L. Ebi is has been conducting research and practice on the health risks of climate variability and change for more than twenty years, including on extreme events, thermal stress, foodborne safety and security, and vectorborne diseases. She focuses on understanding sources of vulnerability, estimating current and future health risks of climate change, and designing adaptation policies and measures to reduce climate change-related risks in multi-stressor environments. She has worked in Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. She was a lead author for the IPCC special report on warming of 1.5°C, and of the 4th US National Climate Assessment. She also co-chairs the International Committee On New Integrated Climate change assessment Scenarios (ICONICS). Dr. Ebi has edited fours books on aspects of climate change and has more than 200 publications.

Lightning Talk Speakers

Day 1

BEATRICE-AKINYI.jpg Beatrice Akinyi

Beatrice Akinyi Otieno joined MWA Kenya in December 2016. Previously, she worked for AMREF, ACF-USA, and Save the Children International, where she managed multisectoral nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific programs in partnership with other non-governmental agencies and State Departments both at County and National levels. She has more than 11 years of experience working in both development and humanitarian contexts in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan with interests in project design, management, monitoring, evaluation, documentation, partnership and awards management, and donor liaison. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and a BSC in Nutrition from Kenyatta University. She is a member of the Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute.

Songhee_Han.JPGSonghee Han

Songhee graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor of Science Honors in Earth Systems in 2018. She completed her thesis “Effects of Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULC) and Climate Change on Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission in Colombia: An Integrated Spatiotemporal Approach” under the guidance of prof. Erin Mordecai and Dr. Andy MacDonald. After graduation, she completed her ten-month Fulbright U.S. student research fellowship in Medellín, Colombia. She collaborated with researchers from the World Mosquito Program and the University of Antioquia looking at effects of microclimate and socioeconomic strata on mosquito abundance and disease incidence in Medellín. She founded one of the first One Health student groups in Colombia and presented her preliminary research findings at the Fulbright researcher seminar in Lima, Peru and also at the Instituto Nacional de Salud in Bogotá, Colombia. She looks forward to continue her passion in researching the intersection between environmental change and human health.

Vijay_Limaye.JPGVijay Limaye, PhD

Vijay Limaye is an environmental health scientist working as a Climate Change and Health Science Fellow at NRDC’s Science Center. He is broadly interested in addressing international environmental health challenges—quantifying, communicating, and mitigating the risks associated with climate change—with a focus on the public health burden of air pollution and extreme heat events. Prior to his role at NRDC, he worked for three years as a scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional offices in San Francisco and Chicago, focusing on Clean Air Act regulatory implementation, risk communication, citizen science, and air-quality monitoring policy. Limaye, who also speaks Spanish and Hindi, has conducted interdisciplinary research quantifying the health impacts of climate change-triggered air pollution and heat waves for populations in the U.S. and India. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in environmental epidemiology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sarah Nelson

Sarah Nelson is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney looking at understanding water resource decision-making for human and ecosystem health to improve sanitation and health outcomes in Fiji. Her project is part of the Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) which is looks at securing health in Fiji through strengthened health system & integrated water management to tackle the Three Plagues: typhoid, dengue and leptospirosis. She completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons) in 2011 from Victoria University of Wellington, and in 2013 completed a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Auckland. She has previously worked at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK in maternal and newborn health, and at the Health Promotion Agency in New Zealand building an evidence base to support implementation of plain packaged cigarettes.

Day 2


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