Public Symposium Speakers

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Charles Fishman

Mr. Charles Fishman

In the last four years, author and investigative reporter Charles Fishman has become one of the most forceful, challenging and inspiring public voices on water issues, speaking everywhere from MIT and UCLA, to Hershey chocolate and the U.S. State Department. Fishman’s book, “The Big Thirst: The secret life & turbulent future of water,” is the best-selling water book in a generation, and is changing how people think about water, and how they manage it. “The Big Thirst” does something few water books do — it restores a sense of wonder about water, along with a sense of urgency. Fishman is a former reporter for the Washington Post, and was a reporter and editor at the Orlando Sentinel and the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. Since 1996, he has worked for the innovative business magazine Fast Company. Fishman’s work has won numerous awards, including three times receiving UCLA’s Gerald Loeb Award, the most prestigious award in business journalism. Fishman is the author of two other New York Times bestsellers, “The Wal-Mart Effect,” about Wal-Mart’s impact on how we live; and the #1 NYT bestseller, “A Curious Mind,” about the power of curiosity, with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Fishman grew up in Miami, Florida, and graduated from Harvard. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, also a journalist, two teenagers, and two Labradors.


Debra Furr-Holden

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden is an epidemiologist with expertise in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology, prevention science and environmental strategies and structural intervention for violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. In the last decade her work has focused in large part on developing environmental strategies and structural interventions for violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention in high-risk and urban settings. She currently PI’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant Alcohol Policies to Prevent and Reduce Youth Violence Exposure and the co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence.

Kent Key

Dr. Kent Key

Kent D. Key, PhD, MPH, BBA, has an extensive background in community engaged research that spans over the past fifteen years in the city of Flint. His research interests include both racial and ethnic health disparities research, and clinical and translational research. During the past ten years, Dr. Key has worked to create culturally effective approaches to engage urban youth into public health research and careers in public health. Since 2013, Dr. Key has focused his research efforts to explore Community Engaged Research as it relates to the Flint Water Crisis. Dr. Key is the Director of the Office of Community Scholars and Partnerships at the Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine-Public Health Division. In his community role, Dr. Key serves as Executive Deputy Director of the Community Based Organization Partners (CBOP), where he advocates for Community Based Participatory Research and equitable community-academic partnerships. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow in the Culture of Health Leaders Program. Dr. Key is the 2017 Chair of the Community Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC) of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Dr. Key was a 2016 Community Engaged Research Fellow at the Michigan Institute for Clinical Health Research. Dr. Key has served the public health landscape in many national capacities such as: the National Collaboration /Engagement Domain Taskforce for the CTSAs, and the PCORI National Patient Stakeholder Council. Dr. Key has served as Past President of the National Community Based Organization Network (NCBON), and Past Chair of the Community Board for the Prevention Research Center (PRC) of MI (University of Michigan).

Dr. Michael Mascarenhas

Dr. Michael Mascarenhas

Dr. Michael Mascarenhas is Associate Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a sociologist with scholarly interests in the fields of Post-colonial and Development Studies, Environmental Justice and Racism, and Science and Technology Studies. His research examines the political, social, and environmental tensions and controversies surrounding recent transnational changes in the governance of water regimes.

Dr. Susan Masten

Dr. Susan Masten

Professor Masten's research involves the use of chemical oxidants for the remediation of soils, water, and leachates contaminated with hazardous organic chemicals. Her research is presently focused on the in-situ use of gaseous ozone to oxidize residual contaminant in saturated soils using ozone sparging and in unsaturated soils using soil venting. Dr. Masten is also very interested in evaluating the toxicity of the by-products of chemical oxidation processes as measured by gap junction intercellular communication. Work has focused on the ozonation and chlorination of several pesticides, including atrazine, alachlor, and lindane and on the PAHs, especially pyrene. Current work is being conducted to identify the by-products formed opon the ozonation of several PAHs and to assess their toxicity.

Dr. Lyla Mehta

Dr. Lyla Mehta

Professor Lyla Mehta is a Professorial Research Fellow at IDS and a Visiting Professor at Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She trained as a sociologist (University of Vienna) and has a Ph.d. in Development Studies (University of Sussex).

Her work focuses on water and sanitation, forced displacement and resistance, scarcity, rights and access, resource grabbing and the politics of environment/ development and sustainability. More recently, her projects have addressed peri urban dynamics, the politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Africa and uncertainty and climate change from below in India. She has extensive field research in India studying the politics of water scarcity, the linkages between gender, displacement and resistance, access to water in peri urban areas and climate change and uncertainty.

Additionally, she has worked on water management issues in southern Africa and studied the cultural and institutional aspects of sanitation in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia and the scaling of community-led total sanitation. Her work uses the case of water to explore conceptual and empirical questions concerning scarcity, power, politics, uncertainty, rights and access to resources, the contested nature of the 'public' and 'private' and the cultural politics of development. She is currently the water and sanitation domain convenor of the STEPS centre.

Lana Pollack

Sen. Lana Pollack

Lana Pollack was elected three times to the Michigan Senate and spent 12 years as President of the Michigan Environmental Council. Currently Pollack, appointed by President Obama,  is United States Section Chair of the International Joint Commission. This bi-national treaty organization helps prevent and resolve disputes and advises Canada and the United States governments on their shared boundary waters.  Pollack was also a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, taught at the University of Michigan, was elected a trustee of the Ann Arbor Board of Education, ran for the U.S. House and Senate, co-directed a school in Zambia and served on several educational, non-profit and corporate boards.

Dr. Joan Rose

Dr. Joan Rose

Dr. Joan Rose is the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University Dr. Rose is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety, publishing more than 250 manuscripts. She has been involved in the investigation of numerous waterborne outbreaks world-wide. Her work has examined new molecular methods for waterborne pathogens and zoonotic agents such as Cryptosporidium and enteric viruses and source tracking techniques. She has been involved in the study of water supplies, water used for food production, and coastal environments as well as drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment and reclaimed water.