SEHN was founded in 1994 by a consortium of North American environmental organizations (including the Environmental Defense Fund, The Environmental Research Foundation, and OMB Watch) concerned about the misuse of science in ways that failed to protect the environment and human health. Granted 501(c)(3) status in 1999, SEHN operates as a virtual organization, currently with five staff and six board members working from locations across the U.S.
Since 1998, SEHN has been the leading proponent in the United States of the Precautionary Principle as a new basis for environmental and public health policy. SEHN has worked with issue driven organizations, national environmental health coalitions, municipal and state governments, and several NGO/government teams to implement precautionary policies at local and state levels.
In service to communities, the Earth and future generations, the Science and Environmental Health Network forges law, ethics, and science into tools for action.
Fulfilling our responsibility to govern ourselves and our communities wisely, to create and sustain a just and healthy world now and for future generations.
SEHN accomplishes its mission by:
Translating law and science for the public and decision-makers.
Providing the scientific and legal tools needed to protect and restore justice and ecological wholeness.
Serving environmental, public health and environmental justice coalitions and grassroots campaigns with legal and scientific expertise.
Lifting up women’s voices and leadership to address the challenges before us.
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Our Team: Staff and Board Members
SEHN operates as an organization without walls; SEHN’s staff works from locations across North America.
Carolyn Raffensperger, M.A., J.D.
Carolyn is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. In 1982 she left a career as an archaeologist in the desert Southwest to join the environmental movement. She first worked for the Sierra Club where she addressed an array of environmental issues, including forest management, river protection, pesticide pollutants, and disposal of radioactive waste. She began working for SEHN in December 1994. As an environmental lawyer she specializes in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment.
Carolyn is co-editor of Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy published by M.I.T. Press (2006) and Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle, published by Island Press (1999). Together, these volumes are the most comprehensive exploration to date of the history, theory, and implementation of the precautionary principle. Carolyn coined the term “ecological medicine” to encompass the broad notions that both health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She has served on editorial review boards for several environmental and sustainable agriculture journals, and on USEPA and National Research Council committees. She wrote a bimonthly column for the Environmental Law Institute’s journal Environmental Forum from 1999 until 2008.
Carolyn has been featured in Gourmet magazine, the Utne Reader, Yes! Magazine, the Sun, Whole Earth, and Scientific American. Along with leading workshops and giving frequent lectures on the Precautionary Principle, Carolyn is at the forefront of developing new models for government that depend on these larger ideas of precaution and ecological integrity. The new models include guardianship for future generations, a vision for the courts of the 21st century and the public trust doctrine.
Ted Schettler, M.D., M.P.H
Ted, SEHN’s Science Director, received his MD from Case-Western Reserve University and a masters degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He practiced medicine for many years in New England.
Ted has worked extensively with community groups and non-governmental organizations throughout the US and internationally, addressing many aspects of human health and the environment. He has served on advisory committees of the US EPA and National Academy of Sciences.
Ted is co-author of Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment, which examines reproductive and developmental health effects of exposure to a variety of environmental toxicants. He is also co-author of In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, which discusses the impact of environmental exposures on neurological development in children, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging: With a Closer Look at Alzheimer’ and Parkinson’s Diseases. In 2013, The Ecology of Breast Cancer: The promise of Prevention and the Hope for Healing was released. Ted has published numerous articles in the medical literature, and is frequently quoted in the popular press.
Among many others, Ted’s current projects include serving as science director for theCollaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) and active participation in the Health Care Without Harm coalition, contributing to its international campaign to improve the environmental performance of hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Ted works with colleagues from other organizations and maintains an intensive public speaking schedule, giving frequent talks on environmental health, ecological health, and the precautionary principle.
He lives in Bolinas, CA
After attending the 2012 Women’s Congress for Future Generations, Ann stepped up to lead a team of over 30 women to create the 2nd Women’s Congress in Minneapolis in November 2014. Her work with Future First and the 2014 Congress combined her long-time interest in economic justice with a relatively new awakening to the need to protect Mother Earth for Future Generations and for environmental justice for this generation as well as future generations.
Ann was Interim Executive Director for United for a Fair Economy in Boston, MA, consulted with Wealth for the Common Good on economic reforms to create a more just and sustainable economy. She brings her training and experience as an Organizational Consultant, a CPA and strategic planner at Medtronic, Inc. and PriceWaterhouse Coopers to her work at SEHN.
Ann has held board leadership roles with many organizations including Headwaters Foundation for Justice, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, United Theological Seminary, the YWCA of Minneapolis, and Habitat for Humanity Minnesota. Ann has an M.A. in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Since 2007, after 30 years in the corporate world and as an independent consultant, Ann now relishes being a full time activist and serving as Associate Director for the Science & Environmental Health Network.
Sherri joined the SEHN Staff in January 2005 as Finance Director. Sherri has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois. Her background includes working in banking for many years as well as co-owning a family restaurant. Sherri is in charge of SEHN’s bookkeeping and budgets, donor database, development research, as well as managing our websites.
She lives in Eugene Oregon.
Senior Researcher & Communications Associate
Kayhla Cornell, M.A.
Kayhla joined the SEHN staff in 2018 as a Senior Researcher and Communications/Science Writing Associate. Her experience includes work in the fields of environmental social science, environmental public health, environmental justice, and disaster preparedness, management, and response.
She lives on the East Coast.
Board of Directors, 2019
Benno Friedman, Photographer/ Activist, Sheffield, MA.
Bhavna Shamasunder, Secretary, Associate Professor, Urban & Environmental Policy, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA.
Madeleine Kangsen Scammell, President, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health
Peter Montague, Journalist/Historian, New Brunswick, N.J.
Rebecca Gasior Altman, Treasurer, Writer/Sociologist, Providence, RI.
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. Bemidji, MN
Previous Board Members:
Angie Carter, Assistant Professor, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI
David Wallinga, Senior Health Officer, NRDC
Elise Miller, MEd, Director, Collaborative on Health and the Environment, Founder and Former Executive Director, Institute for Children’s Environmental Health
Frank Peterman, Southeast Regional Director, The Wilderness Society, Atlanta, GA
Lois N. Epstein, P.E. Director, Alaska Transportation Priorities Project
Martha Dina Arguello, Executive Director, Health and Environment Programs, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles, CA
Roxanne Turnage, Executive Director, C.S. Fund, Freestone, CA
Sandra Steingraber, Board Member Emeritus Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Ithaca College, Interdisciplinary Studies, Ithaca, N.Y. Author of Living Downstream: A Scientist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, and Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood.
Steve Lester, Science Director, Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, Falls Church, VA
Dianne Dumanoski, Author, Newton, MA.