One way or another, in each chapter of my eclectic 25-year career, I have told stories and facilitated conversations about high-stakes public health challenges.
This year I decided to create, produce, and host the “Climate Seasons” radio series in order to experiment with long-form vehicles for communicating about climate change. I am grateful to Takoma Radio for taking this project onto its airwaves. Airing on community radio was a perfect match for my desire to “leaven” a technically complex and psychologically challenging subject matter by lending it a conversational tone and many local angles.
Here’s the quick version of my biographical background. While earning a Master’s degree in public health in the early 90’s, I studied the political and cultural forces affecting front-line HIV prevention efforts in lower Manhattan. This led to frontline policy advocacy, and then to radio reporting on AIDS and other matters. Over time, I’ve added other arrows to my quiver. I have managed projects, raised funds, and pursued federal policy analysis and advocacy for clients and employers. I’ve worked with think tanks, medical societies and international nonprofits, addressing challenges ranging from antibiotic resistance and disaster preparedness to community-based health strategies. For more detail, please visit my LinkedIn page.
These highlights convey my climate change and storytelling experience in particular:
Recently, I spent three years as a valued team member for Moms Clean Air Force, a prominent climate and clean air initiative mobilizing moms and dads to advocate for climate action. There, I brokered national partnerships that flourished into effective project collaborations. For example, I co-authored and produced a first-in-class brochure for the general public that explains how climate change worsens children’s asthma. Meanwhile, I built the organization’s local Washington, DC chapter; I developed a legislative agenda, and I co-organized local-facing and federal-facing hearings, rallies, and other events that served as conduits for mothers and others to articulate their own viewpoints on climate change.
Back in 2002, I was contracted by the NPR-affiliated WNYC Radio station to produce an hour-long radio program about New Yorkers’ psychological well-being in the months following the September 11th attacks. As one element, I put together a round-table discussion among corporate officers and local school leaders who had launched their own, home-grown mental health support systems to help their constituencies cope. In a separate documentary for WNYC I helped tell the story of the newly effective AIDS medicines that were hitting the market at that time. At my urging we expanded the storyline to include the emerging clinical downsides of these wonder drugs. The new story frame became patients ‘riding the AIDS rollercoaster.’ The program garnered an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for best news documentary. During this period I also produced and hosted several talk segments for WBAI FM Pacifica Radio.
My blog posts and articles on climate change, HIV/AIDS and urban health have been published on the Moms Clean Air Force website, in POZ magazine, City Limits magazines, and other locales. Several letters-to-the-editor were published by The New York Times. A presenter at numerous public fora, I have testified frequently at federal public hearings and federal advisory committee meetings at the behest of clients and employers. An avid storyteller myself, I have told a dozen original first-person stories at Washington, DC’s live storytelling venue, ‘Story District.’ One of my stories was included in their “Best Of” CD compilation.