2020 Keynote Speakers & Panelists

Note: the 2021 Keynote Speakers & Panelists will be posted once finalized.

Laura Bush

Diana B. Allen

Chief, Healthy Parks Healthy People
National Park Service

Diana serves as Chief, US National Park Service – Healthy Parks Healthy People to strengthen society’s recognition and reliance on the role of parks in contributing to the health of people, health of ecosystems, and sustainability of the planet.  Diana has 20+ years of experience in the public and private sectors to create health promoting conservation and recreation programs, events, and policies, with lasting impact throughout the United States and the World. As a catalyst, convener, and adaptive leader, she has focused most of her career on efforts resulting in new prototypes for promoting the health of people and the planet- from river conservation, water quality, wildlife habitat, parks, and recreational trails, and coalition building at local, national, and international levels.

Perry Hystad, PhD

Rick Archer, FAIA, LEED AP

Senior Principal
Overland Partners

Rick Archer, FAIA, is a founding partner at Overland Partners Architecture + Urban Design and plays an active role as Design Principal with a focus on projects in the areas of education, healthcare, non-profit and urban design. Under Rick’s leadership, Overland’s work has been recognized in places of cultural and natural significance, with notable awards including the AIA’s COTE Top 10 Award, Architect Top 50 Award in Sustainability and Design and the Texas Architect Firm of the Year Award among other national, regional and local awards. In his role as CEO, Rick leads an international community of creative problem-solvers at Overland. Serving as a mentor, teacher and collaborative partner, Rick is known for drawing out the best from his teams and clients. He is an active leader in community initiatives around the globe, with a focus on education, sustainability, social equity and design that inspires human flourishing.

Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, FAHA

Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, FAHA

University of Louisville

Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, is professor and distinguished university scholar in the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, is a professor of medicine, and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Louisville since 1998. Bhatnagar is a distinguished university scholar and a fellow of the American Heart Association. His research interests include cardiovascular effects of environmental pollutants, atherosclerosis, injury from loss of blood to the heart muscle, cardiovascular complications of diabetes, and sepsis. Bhatnagar’s work has led to the creation of the new field of environmental cardiology. His research is supported by several grants from the National Institutes of Health, including two program-projects.

David Berrigan, PhD, MPH

Gregory Bratman, PhD

Assistant Professor of Nature, Health and Recreations
University of Washington

Gregory Bratman’s work takes place at the nexus of psychology, public health, and ecology, and is focused on investigating the ways in which the environment is associated with human well-being. He takes both empirical and theoretical approaches to understand how nature experience impacts human mental well-being, specifically cognitive function, mood, and emotion regulation, with an emphasis on people living in urban environments. He is also working to inform the ways that the mental health effects of nature can be incorporated into ecosystem service studies, and in efforts to address health inequities. Gregory is a Harvard JPB Environmental Health Fellow and the Doug Walker Endowed Professor.

Myron Floyd, PhD

Dean, College of Natural Resources
North Carolina State University

Dr. Myron F. Floyd currently serves as Dean of the College of Natural Resources at NC State University. He first joined the college in 2005 as a professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. In 2010, he was appointed to serve as director of graduate programs for the department, and in 2014, he became department head. Floyd is widely recognized as a leading scholar focused on understanding race and ethnic patterns in outdoor recreation behavior. His most recent research examines how public parks and greenspaces and other features of the built environment contribute to physical activity in low-income communities of color. He is co-author of Race, Ethnicity, and Leisure: Perspectives on Research, Theory and Practice from Human Kinetics. In 2008, he was awarded the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award, the highest award for research excellence from the National Recreation and Park Association.

Shawn Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH

Dean, School of Public Health
Texas A&M University

Shawn Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH, is Dean of the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Shawn has over a hundred articles in industrial hygiene and environmental exposure assessment, focusing on disrupting transmission of highly infectious diseases. He is a Member of USEPA Board of Scientific Counselors for Homeland Security. He was a U.S. Faculty Fulbright Scholar to Egypt and has been PI of three Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Programs (Egypt and Libya). His research helped to determine national policies, procedure, and best practices for response to Ebola virus disease, COVID-19, and other highly infectious diseases. Shawn has held roles in organizations, such as National Ebola Training and Education Center, Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center, NIOSH funded Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, and Director of Research for the CDC/DHHS funded Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Shawn is heavily involved in national worker training programs in Hazardous Materials Disaster Preparedness Training and Hazardous Waste Worker Training. He is a national leader in the research, training, and policy related to national and international responses to highly infectious disease outbreaks, including developing procedures for aeromedical evacuation isolation.

John Henderson

Executive Director
Park Rx America

John Henderson, Executive Director of Park Rx America, is a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive, attorney, and city planner with over 25 years of experience in parks and recreation at the Chicago Park District and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. John earned a Juris Doctor degree from The John Marshall Law School, a Bachelor’s in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, a Certificate in Public Performance Measurement from Rutgers University, and certificates in Public Health Fundamentals and Human Health and Nature from the Eppley Institute at Indiana University. John has been an instructor at the Park and Recreation Directors School and served as Chair of the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies.

Dongying Li, 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.

Zhipeng Lu, PhD, LEED AP BD+C

Associate Director, Center for Health Systems & Design
Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture
Texas A&M University

Dr. Zhipeng Lu is an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, and the associate director of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University. Dr. Lu’s research examines the influence of physical environment on people’s health and behaviors. His research projects, funded by agencies such as NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Institutes of Architect, investigate design for older people, healthcare environment, healthy community and healthy city, design to promote active living, and building information modeling. Dr. Lu teaches graduate and undergraduate courses that emphasize design for health.

Jay Maddock, PhD, FAAHB

Center for Health & Nature

Jay Maddock is professor of environmental and occupational health at Texas A&M University. He is internationally recognized for his research in social ecological approaches to increasing physical activity. Dr. Maddock serves as the senior academic advisor for the President George H.W. Bush China-US Relations Foundation and serves on the board of directors for the Texas Health Institute and the Well-Connected Communities Initiative. His research has been featured in several national media outlets including The Today Show, Eating Well, Prevention, and Good Housekeeping.

Terri Menser, PhD, MBA

Houston Methodist

Terri Menser is a scientist at the Center for Outcomes Research at Houston Methodist and an assistant member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ohio State University in the Department of Family Medicine working on projects related to health information technology, patient engagement, implementation evaluation, and health disparities. She received her doctoral degree in Health Services Research, with an organizational focus, from Texas A&M University. During her studies, Terri worked as a Research Assistant for the NSF-funded Center for Health Organization Transformation, and later as a Research Associate to evaluate the implementation of primary care into mental health care settings through the Texas 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver Evaluation. Her current research examines surgical outcomes, burnout, patient portal use, and telemedicine.

Alan Pan, MS

Data Scientist
Houston Methodist

Alan Pan is a data scientist with the Center for Outcomes Research at Houston Methodist. He earned his Master of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and also holds an undergraduate degree in neurobiology from Northwestern. Prior to joining Houston Methodist, he worked in biopharmaceuticals as an analyst with the Data and Statistical Sciences organization at AbbVie. In this role, he gained industry experience in leveraging data and computational tools to guide insights in areas related to clinical analytics, patient safety, and data management.

Taehyun Roh, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
School of Public Health
Texas A&M University

Dr. Taehyun Roh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Texas A&M University. He has a broad background in environmental health, with specific training and expertise in toxicology and epidemiology. His earlier research topics include mechanistic toxicological studies across in vitro/in vivo experiments, and exposure and risk assessment of environmental contaminants. He participated in international rural health research projects on arsenic exposure from drinking water in Chile and Bangladesh. Currently, he conducts environmental epidemiology research on the chronic health effects of drinking water contaminants and children’s environmental health issues including community intervention activities. He has recently initiated community-engaged research projects assessing the burden of arsenic exposure and developing interventions for cancer prevention in rural Texas. With a clinical background as a Registered Pharmacist in Korea, he is interested in improving the quality of life in patients.

Zhaoyue Shi, PhD

Instructor of Translational Imaging in Radiology
Houston Methodist

Zhaoyue Shi is an instructor of Translational Imaging in Radiology at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital while working on computational modeling using simultaneous EEG and MEG. She received her doctoral degree in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University where her doctoral work focused on the investigation of brain connectivity using MRI and electrophysiology. She is currently involved in multiple projects with the research goal of applying multimodal neuroimaging to investigate neuro-related disorders.

Renee Stubbins, PhD

Senior Oncology Dietitian
Houston Methodist

Renee Stubbins grew up in Houston, Texas and received her bachelor’s in science and her doctorate in Nutrition Biochemistry and Cancer Metabolism from the University of Texas at Austin. Renee is a senior oncology dietitian for Houston Methodist Cancer Center and an assistant member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. As a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Oncology Nutrition Practice group, Renee currently serves as the chair elect and future chair. Renee’s research interests include utilizing medical nutrition therapy throughout the cancer care process and using nature to address patient barriers (pain and anxiety) to improve patient’s quality of life.

Keith Tidball, PhD

Senior Extension Associate
Assistant Director
Cornell Cooperative Extension

Dr. Tidball is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Natural Resources, and Assistant Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension for Natural Resources and Environment. He leads a focal area on Veterans, Military Families, and Disaster Education. He coordinates a suite of projects dealing with veterans and military families, and also serves as the Program Leader of the New York State Extension Disaster Education Network. Dr. Tidball conducts research, extension, and outreach activities in the area of ecological dimensions of human security. He is focused on natural resources management questions at the leading edge, “at the tip of the spear,” in places and time periods characterized by violence, conflict, disaster or war. This work includes vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within linked human-environment systems, as well as cultural systems analysis within these contexts.