Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration

Environmental Health: Air Pollution, COVID-19 & Health Disparities

August 21, 2020 | 12:00 PM
01:00 PM ET

Webinar Transcript

Clear skies over many of the world’s largest cities became a visible mark of the COVID-19 pandemic as stay at home orders initially went into place, an indicator of the high levels of pollution in our air. Research shows our polluted environment is a major driver of health disparities and disproportionately high mortality rates from COVID19 in communities of color. Systemic racism in policies that shape the built environments in many Black, Latino, Native American, and other communities, is at the root of the problem. Globally, outdoor air pollution kills nearly 4.2 million people each year. This webinar explored how the environmental justice movement can address these issues and offer solutions to improve health outcomes.

Speakers discussed:

  • What contributes to air pollution and how environmental injustice has been highlighted during COVID-19
  • How neighborhoods experiencing environmental injustice face poorer air quality and extreme heat while also bearing the brunt of this pandemic
  • What one health plan foundation is doing to improve air quality and combat asthma in the communities they serve


Charles Lee
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jeremy Hoffman, Ph.D.
Science Museum of Virginia; Virginia Commonwealth University
Valerie Stewart, MBA
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
Josie Williams
Greensboro Housing Coalition, Inc

Presentation Slides

"Environmental Justice and Air Pollution" - Charles Lee
"The Enduring Legacy of Inequitable Exposure to Climate Stressors" - Jeremy Hoffman
"Community-Centered Health" - Valerie Stewart
"Environmental, Policy, and System Change through Community Centered Approach" - Josie Williams