The Center for Health & Nature has identified academic leaders, conservation leaders, and physician-scientists from around the country and world who are engaged in research related to the intersection of nature and health. The 2023 Symposium’s theme is “Health for All through Nature”.

8:00 a.m. Symposium Registration & Breakfast

Location: Hagler Auditorium, 1st Floor, Annenberg Presidential Conference Center

9:00 a.m. Center for Health & Nature Symposium Welcome

John Sharp, Chancellor, Texas A&M University System
Shawn Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH, Dean, School of Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center

9:20 a.m. Nature Contact and Health Promotion: From Science to Application

Erin Largo-Wight, PhD
Director, Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE)
Professor, Department of Public Health
University of North Florida

9:45 a.m. The Clean Environment for Healthy Living Initiative: A Case for Environmental Justice

Garret Sansom, DrPH, MPH
Research Assistant Professor, School of Public Health
Texas A&M University

10:10 a.m. Exposure to nature and children’s health and development: Understandings from life-course research

Dongying Li, MLA, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
Texas A&M University

10:35 a.m. Exploring the Connection Between Health and Nature: Research Updates from CHN

Omar Elsayed, MBBCh
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Health & Nature
Houston Methodist Research Institute

11:00 a.m. Vision Panel

Moderator: Rebecca Hall, PhD


  • Erin Largo-Wight, PhD, University of North Florida
  • Garret Sansom, DrPH, MPH, Texas A&M University
  • Dongying Li, PhD, MLA, Texas A&M University
  • Omar Elsayed, MBBCh, Houston Methodist Research Institute
11:35 a.m.

Lunch & Networking

12:00 p.m. Keynote

Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH
Senior Vice President and Director, Land and People Lab, 
Trust for Public Land,
Hagler Fellow Professor, Texas A&M University

12:45 p.m. Beyond the Bayous for a Healthier Harris County

Lisa Graiff
Senior Capital Projects Manager
Houston Parks Board

1:10 p.m. Waterloo Greenway Overview: A Place for All

Jesús Aguirre
Chief Executive Officer
Waterloo Greenway

1:35 p.m. Using Big Data, Machine Learning, and Passive Behavioral Data Collection to Understand the Relationships between Nature and Health

Jared Hanley
Chief Executive Officer

2:00 p.m. Poster Session & Afternoon Break
2:15 p.m. Vision Panel

Moderator: Jorge Vanegas


  • Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, Hagler Fellow Professor
  • Jared Hanley, NatureQuant
  • Lisa Graiff, Houston Parks Board
  • Jesús Aguirre, Waterloo Greenway
3:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Joni Carswell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Texan by Nature
Robert E. Jackson, MD, MACP, C. Richard Stasney, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Performing Arts Medicine, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital

3:30 p.m. Symposium Concludes