Tuesday July 29, 2014    
Member Biosketches

Nicholas A. Robins, Ph.D. is President of the Environmental Health Council, an ORISE Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, Lecturer in the Department of History at North Carolina State University and holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with concentrations in ethnohistory, political science and community development. The recipient of two Fulbright Research Awards and founding president of the Bolivian Studies Association, he is the author or editor of ten books concerning Latin America, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. His most recent work, Mercury, Mining and Empire: The Human and Ecological Cost of Colonial Silver Mining in the Andes (Indiana University Press, 2011) unites archival research and air dispersion modeling to examine the human and ecological toll of historic mercury and silver mining in the Andes.

Heileen Hsu-Kim, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University in Durham, NC. Dr. Hsu-Kim is an expert in contaminant metal geochemistry. Her research area is particularly focused on mercury biogeochemistry and its cycling in the environment. She has published several influential scientific research papers on mercury in leading environmental journals such as Environmental Science & Technology. Dr. Hsu-Kim has more than a decade of experience in performing mercury analyses in environmental samples such as water, soil, and biological tissue.

Luis E. Fernández, Ph.D., Luis E. Fernandez is a research associate at the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. He is the director of the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Ecosystem Project (CAMEP), a large-scale research project looking at the impacts of mercury and artisanal gold mining on tropical natural and human ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon. Luis is also senior fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program in Washington DC, and has previously held science and policy positions at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Michigan. He has received several awards for his environmental work, including from the US Fulbright Program, the Aspen Institute, and the US EPA who in 2009 awarded him the agency's highest award, the Gold Medal for Exceptional Service for his work on mercury dynamics in the Amazon Basin.

Susan Halabi, Ph.D. is an Professor of Biostatistics, in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, at Duke University Medical Center. She is also the Faculty Statistician of the Genitourinary Committee for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored cancer cooperative group. She has extensive experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of scientific studies in oncology, and in the preparation and interpretation of related articles and in epidemiologic studies.

Dr. Enrique Ecos Lima is a physician specializing in epidemiology and environmental health. Based in Huancavelica, he has worked throughout Peru and in conjunction with UNICEF and PAHO on the control of transmissible diseases and the eradication of polio. Dr. Ecos has served as the executive director of the Regional Hospital of Ica and has advised government and non-government organizations on issues relating to occupational diseases, cholera and polio. He has also organized and led numerous training courses on topics ranging from environmental health to the monitoring of intra-hospital infections. Presently, Dr. Ecos is the Director of Epidemiology at the Departmental Hospital of Huancavelica.

Nicole Hagan, MEM, ABD is an Predoctoral Trainee, National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and finishing her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She was the lead author of the EPA's Clean Air Research Program Accomplishments Report for 2003-2008, which required interfacing with multidisciplinary experts to interpret and convey advancements in air research in atmospheric sciences, human health, and risk assessment.  Ms. Hagan has also created a database of existing exposure and human health information to support the development of a prioritization scheme for the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).  

Franciscus Van den Hout has over thirty years experience in the design, development, implementation, management and supervision of community development projects in the areas of public health, education, micro-enterprise and skills development in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. He has extensive knowledge and experience in financial analysis, regional budget management and reporting for programs funded by foundations, multilateral and government organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development, the European Union, the United Nations and the government of Holland. He is skilled in conducting audits, detecting and investigating fraud in addition to all aspects associated with the establishment of field offices, including logistics, legal issues and personnel matters.

Rodrigo A. Zogbi, MA, JD, holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, in La Paz, Bolivia, a Juris Doctor degree from the Universidad Católica de Bolivia, and has over twelve years of experience in the design and implementation of social development programs in the public, non-governmental and international cooperation sectors. During this time he has served as the director of the Bolivian Vice-President's Citizenship and Democracy Initiative, in which he organized and led a 'national dialogue' to unite divergent interests and forge a broad-based consensus on national development goals. In addition, he worked closely with international donors to implement a series of institutional reforms concerning education, food security and infrastructure projects in Bolivia.

Isabel Scarborough Ph.D is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. Her research interests include women's studies and health care, cultural citizenship, and economic anthropology. Scarborough has taught numerous university-level courses in anthropology and qualitative research methodology in both the United States and Bolivia, and has developed and led several research projects in the cities of La Paz, El Alto, and Cochabamba, Bolivia, concerning health care, identity politics, social mobility and religious festivals. Fluent in Spanish, Quechua and English, Scarborough's research has been supported by numerous fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation grant, a dissertation fieldwork award from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and Foreign Language and Area Studies awards.

Rubén Darío Espinoza Gonzales, holds a licenciate in archeology and a Masters Degree in anthropology from the San Cristóbal de Huamanga National University of Peru. In the city of Huancavelica, he has worked extensively on the identification and preservation of colonial mercury smelters and in numerous educational and cultural initiatives. Fluent in Quechua and Spanish, Mr. Espinoza Gonzales is the author of Prospección arqueológica en Huancavelica (in press), in addition to several articles. He is a member of numerous Peruvian professional organizations where he regularly participates in conferences and workshops concerning archeology and cultural patrimony.

Olivier Barras (BA) is an expert in culturally-informed community education concerning urban and peri-urban heavy metal contamination, and an expert in the integration of environmental and cultural considerations in urban planning processes. He has successfully applied this research in Potosí, Bolivia, where he is based, utilizing culturally relevant approaches to educate community members and stakeholders concerning environmental health in urban and recently established peri-urban areas. In addition, Mr. Barras served led an artisanal mining contamination risk assessment and mitigation project for the French organization Doctors of the World (MDM). In addition, Mr. Barras has worked with the Bolivian Strategic Research Program (PIEB) to study the behavior, beliefs and attitudes of miners and their families concerning the health risks from mining contamination. Mr. Barras is fluent in French and  Spanish, and also speaks English and German.

Ingrid Tapia Montecinos de Barras, MS., is an environmental health specialist who holds a Masters degree from Geneva University's Institute for Development Studies, where she studied Andean community organization. In addition, she holds a Masters degree in intercultural health from the National Autonomous University in Mexico. Based in Potosí, Bolivia, Ms. Tapia Montecinos is fluent in Spanish and French, and also speaks English and Quechua. As a professor at the PIEB University of La Paz, she has taught courses on intercultural health research methodology and educational ethnology while mentoring indigenous researchers from Potosí. As a key member of the Potosí Ecological Society and the Rural Development Group, she gained extensive experience in the planning and supervision of development programs concerning environmental issues, Andean community economics, women's issues, conflict resolution, indigenous rights, and community outreach. As the leader of the child and adolescent health education initiative in Potosí of Doctors of the World (MDM), she was also responsible for the planning, outreach, implementation and interinstitutional coordination of intercultural and environmental health projects.

Jacob E. Palley, MPP, has extensive experience working on global policy and programmatic issues related to mercury use and release, with a particular focus on South America. Mr. Palley has served as a Program Analyst in the U.S. Department of State's Office of Environmental Policy, leading the effort to develop holistic projects that reduce the use of mercury in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector in South America. Previously, he interned with the United Nations Environment Programme in Geneva, Switzerland, and served as an environmental educator with the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where he became fluent in Spanish and Guaraní. Having studied International Relations and Environmental Studies at Bucknell University, Mr. Palley obtained a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University.

Bryn E. Thoms, RG is an environmental geologist/project manager at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality specializing in cleanup of mercury and arsenic-contaminated mine sites. He has a BS in geology from Oregon State University and has been the project manager of several abandoned mercury mine cleanup projects in Oregon for 12 years and has experience with a variety of mercury assessment and cleanup methods. Recently, he has been involved with arsenic bioaccessibility assessment methods to better understand risk to residents living on mine tailings.

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