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 Fumkin, 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.

Garett Sansom, DrPH, MPH

Research 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 a Research 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.