2023 Keynote Speakers & Panelists

Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH

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

Howard Frumkin, a physician and epidemiologist, is Senior Vice President at the Trust for Public Land; Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health; and a Hagler Fellow at Texas A&M. Previously he was head of the Our Planet, Our Health initiative at the Wellcome Trust in London (2018-19), Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health (2010-16), Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005-10), and Professor and Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University (1990-2005). His career has focused on health aspects of climate change, the built environment, energy policy, nature contact, and sustainability. His community and professional activities have included serving on numerous National Academy of Sciences committees, on the Boards of the Children and Nature Network, the Bullitt Foundation, the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Green Building Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Public Health Association, and the National Environmental Education Foundation, on advisory committees to the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (Columbia University), the Harvard Center on Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (George Mason University), and the European Centre on Environment and Human Health (University of Exeter), on the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (Harvard University), and on the American Institute of Architects Design and Health Leadership Group. He is the author or co-author of over 300 scientific journal articles and chapters, and his ten books include Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-Being, and Sustainability (Island Press, 2011), Environmental Health: From Global to Local (Jossey-Bass, 3rd Edition 2016), Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves (Island Press, 2020), and Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health and the Environment in the Anthropocene (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He was educated at Brown (A.B.), the University of Pennsylvania (M.D.), and Harvard (M.P.H. and Dr.P.H.). He is an avid cyclist, paddler, and hiker. He is married to global health journalist Joanne Silberner, and has two children, Gabe, an attorney, and Amara, a physician.

Erin Largo-Wight, PhD

Director, Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE)
Professor, Department of Public Health
University of North Florida

Erin Largo-Wight is a Professor of Public Health and Director of the Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE)’s at the University of North Florida. Her professional interests involve environmental health promotion (solutions to environmental health issues). Her work is primarily focused on nature contact and well-being. She explores the impact of nature exposures and interventions in schools, workplaces, clinical sites, and other settings. Her second line of research is focused on facilitating environmental health behavior change. She studies the determinants and/or the promotion of environmental health behaviors such as reducing single use plastic consumption, recycling, active commuting, and others. In addition to sharing her findings with the academic community through scientific journals and conferences, she strives to share her work and connect with parents, teachers, community leaders, and the public more broadly through community boards, public presentations, and media outlets and interviews. Erin and her husband, Jeff, have three kids, many pets, and enjoy living life at the beach.

Garett Sansom, DrPH, MPH

Assistant Professor
School of Public Health
Texas A&M University

Dr. Garett Sansom is the Health and Environment Lead for the Institute for Sustainable Communities and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. His professional interests revolve around the human health implications of the environment, urban planning, and the impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards. This research exemplifies the belief that investigators should be afforded the opportunity to achieve dual goals that extend scientific knowledge and build local capacity to enacting positive change within the communities they analyze. In addition to publishing widely in academic journals, his work also includes working papers, nature conservation pieces and he is a primary author on the Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan where he wrote the seventh chapter entitled The Value of Parks and Recreation in Physical, Mental and Social Well-Being.

Dongying Li, MLA, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
Texas A&M University

Dongying Li is an Assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. Her research investigates the relationship between the built environment and human health, especially how access to nature promotes health and well-being. In her research, she incorporates a range of interdisciplinary methods, such as GIS, remote sensing, volunteered geographic information, biosensing, and a variety of other techniques to advance knowledge. As a planner and designer, she works to apply her research findings to support evidence-based design and create places where people thrive.

Omar Elsayed, MBBCh

Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Health & Nature
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Omar Elsayed is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Health & Nature. He earned his medical degree at October 6 University, Egypt. He is currently finishing his Master of Public Health Degree at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. Before joining Houston Methodist, he served as a cardiovascular medicine resident at October 6 University Hospital. Under the mentorship of Dr. Jay Maddock, he is working on investigating the effect of the different environmental factors on both mental and physical health, with a special focus on cardiovascular outcomes. His other interests include the identification of reliable prognostic factors to optimize decision-making and patient management. 

Lisa Graiff

Sr Capital Projects Manager
Houston Parks Board

After receiving a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, Lisa spent two decades designing buildings in cities such as Houston, New York, Newcastle, and Shanghai. Throughout years of working on large healthcare campuses in England, Lisa honed her interest in the connection between human health and access to nature. Because of this, on returning to her hometown of Houston, Lisa changed careers to work for Houston Parks Board, a nonprofit that creates, improves, protects, and advocates for parks for everyone. Lisa also served as the Board Chair of the Bayou Land Conservancy, a local nonprofit that preserves land along streams for flood control, clean water, and wildlife. As Beyond the Bayous Project Manager with Houston Parks Board, Lisa focuses on working with partners to expand the benefits of Bayou Greenways throughout Harris County. Lisa also enjoys listening to TED talks, hiking with her dog, and traveling almost anywhere.

Jesús Aguirre

Chief Executive Officer
Waterloo Greenway Conservancy
Austin, Texas

Jesús Aguirre is CEO of Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, a nonprofit creating and maintaining an innovative park system in downtown Austin. Jesús previously served as Superintendent of the Department of Parks and Recreation in Seattle and has more than 20 years of public service leadership experience in major metropolitan jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. After graduating from the University of Texas, Jesús received an MBA from Arizona State University. He spent much time working in the education sector, as a middle school science teacher, and ultimately as the State Superintendent of Education in D.C. Jesús and his wife co-founded and ran a nonprofit dual-language charter school in Phoenix for 10 years. He serves on the boards of the National Recreation and Park Association and Children and Nature Network and is a member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

Jared Hanley

Chief Executive Officer

Jared Hanley is a co-founder and CEO of NatureQuant, a research and technology firm building tools to assess and promote nature exposure. Prior to founding NatureQuant, Jared used data science, machine learning, and statistical modeling techniques and provided advisory services in finance, energy, and real estate applications. He is a published author and speaker on ERISA laws and plans. He has a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Cognitive Science, both from Yale University. He is a FINRA-registered securities principal and a Chartered Financial Analyst. Jared is a formal professional wilderness athlete and married with two children.