Climate Research Initiative

Administrative Core Team

Yang Liu, CHART Director

Dr. Liu is the Gangarosa Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health (GDEH) in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH). Trained as an environmental engineer, his research focuses on quantifying the spatiotemporal characteristics of environmental risk factors such as air pollution, wildfires, extreme heat, pollen and their associated adverse health effects using GIS, spatial statistics, and machine learning. 

In addition to a deep understanding of various climate datasets and their potentials in CCH research, he has been leading the development of advanced dynamical downscaling models to generate high-resolution climate projections for health applications using the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s supercomputers. 

Dr. Liu has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles and has been a Clarivate Global Highly Cited Researcher since 2019 (in Cross-Field). He has organized symposia and sessions for a number of scientific conferences including the American Geophysical Union’s fall meetings, International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) and International Society of Exposure Science (ISES)’s annual meetings. He is one of the two ISES co-chairs for the 2025 ISES/ISEE joint annual meeting in Atlanta. 

In addition to his research experience, Dr. Liu brings a history of administrative and research leadership experience. In addition to being chair of the GDEH, he co-founded the Emory Climate and Health Research Incubator with funding from RSPH and has served as its co-director since 2020. He also leads the Emory Climate Research Initiative (ECRI) established in 2022 with funding from the Provost’s Office of Emory University. In 2021, he became the Emory PI of the Georgia Climate Project (initial launch in 2017), a network of 11 Georgia Universities and Colleges in a multi-year effort to bring Georgia’s academic institutions together with partners across the state to develop a highly effective network that can drive concrete climate solutions in Georgia.

 He has mentored 12 doctoral students, 13 postdoctoral fellows, leads department-wide efforts to improve mentoring and research career training for junior faculty, and is a strong supporter of GDEH’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative. This extensive portfolio of research success, administrative leadership, and commitment to building research programs and mentoring early career investigators will be an asset for CHART as we pursue its mission of generating knowledge about the health risks related to heat exposure and other climate change-related risk factors and translate it into action through equitable partnerships to enhance health.

Noah Scovronick, CHART Deputy Director

Dr. Scovronick is Rollins Assistant Professor in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health (GDEH) in the RSPH. His research focuses on understanding the links between human health, climate change, and climate policy. This includes epidemiological studies of climate-sensitive health risks such as heat, pollen, and air pollution, as well as analyses that quantify the health co-benefits of climate action. He has projects assessing climate-health relationships from the global to the local level, and a hallmark of his work is transdisciplinary collaborations. In addition to public health and medical experts, Dr. Scovronick works closely with atmospheric scientists, economists, ethicists and community partner organizations. 

Dr. Scovronick also serves as Director of the RSPH Certificate in Climate and Health and the Director of the Climate and Health Research Incubator, an initiative that develops and cultivates research in climate and health across the university. Through these roles and his research, Dr. Scovronick has worked closely with Key Personnel in all of the Center’s Cores and the Project investigators, and also has relationships with several of the community partners expected to serve on the Partner Steering Committee of the Community Engagement Core. Overall, Dr. Scovronick’s scientific background in climate and health research, combined with his administrative experience and leadership roles are well aligned with the needs of the Center’s Admin Core and are a strong complement to Dr. Liu and his role.

Nikki Rider, CHART Lead Evaluator

Dr. Rider is the Interim Director for the Center for Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement (PEQI) at The Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance. In that role, she oversees team members on the design and implementation of all aspects of PEQI-led evaluations. Her expertise includes study design, survey methodology, primary and secondary data analysis, data visualization, and the translation of findings for diverse audiences. Dr. Rider has more than 15 years of experience evaluating federally funded public health initiatives supporting improved public health agency performance, workforce development, and performance management and quality improvement. Her experience includes serving as a member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials Profile Workgroup, Academy Health Membership Committee, and Keeneland Conference Scientific Advisory Committee. She has also served as a peer reviewer for leading public health journals. Dr. Rider’s expertise includes evaluation and assessment design, mixed-methods analysis, project management, strategic planning, and relationship-building, and will serve as the CHART Center Evaluator and a member of the Administrative Core and Executive Committee. As the Center Evaluator, she will lead the design, implementation, and reporting of CHART evaluation activities and performance measurement.

Angela Rozo, CHART Administrator

Angela has served as a Public Health Program Administrator for NIH/FIC Collaborative grants since 2016 and has worked in Higher Education Administration at Emory University for more than 15 years. She will assist Dr. Liu and Scovronick in the general administration and coordination of activities for CHART.

Research Core Team

Howard Chang, Project Co-Lead

Dr. Chang is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. His research interests focus on the statistical and computational methods for analyzing complex spatial-temporal exposure and health data. He has led/co-led multiple NIH projects to investigate health effects of environmental exposures, including extreme heat. Dr. Chang will participate in all aims of the project and also carry out administrative responsibilities for the project. He will also lead the data acquisition and analysis of electronic health records in Aim 1.

Stefanie Ebelt, Project Co-Lead

Dr. Ebelt is an Associate Professor in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. She brings a long-standing commitment to exposure science and epidemiological research in environmental health along with experience in program leadership and mentoring to her role on this application. Dr. Ebelt will participate in all aims of the project. She will also lead the participant recruitment components of Aim 2 and Aim 3.

Eri Saikawa, Co-Investigator

Dr. Saikawa is an Associate Professor with tenure and a Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at Emory University. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and it spans from 3D chemical transport modeling to land modeling to environmental policy. Dr. Saikawa brings has experience in personal exposure assessment, especially low-resource settings. She and will lead the personal, indoor and outdoor monitoring campaigns in Aim 3.

Christine Ekenga, Co-Investigator

Dr. Ekenga is an Assistant Professor in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. She is a community-engaged environmental epidemiologist, with a focus on the health impacts of environmental and occupational hazards. Dr. Ekenga will participate in Aim 2 to develop survey tools and structured interview. She will also participant in quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data collected.

Community Engagement Core Team

Melanie Pearson, CEC Director

Dr. Pearson will provide scientific oversight and leadership to the CEC. She has led the Emory HERCULES CEC for the last ten years, building strong partnerships with local communities and coalescing Atlanta’s environmental health stakeholders. She has experience building community-academic partnerships in multiple programs and as an environmental health scientist. Dr. Pearson will oversee all CEC activities. She will be the primary point of contact for Aim 3, providing guidance, training, and support to HERCULES members and students as they engage the local community in the context of climate and health science. She will also be the primary lead for the Partner Steering Committee (PSC) and the Community Grant Program. She will oversee manuscript preparations and will serve on CHART’s executive committee. In addition, she will provide supervision to the CEC program manager and graduate student assistants.

Saria Hassan, CEC co-Director,

Dr. Hassan’s is an Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. Her research is focused on applying community and stakeholder engaged research methods using implementation science principles to address the needs of vulnerable population in the setting of climate change and natural disasters. Dr. Hassan will provide scientific oversight and leadership for the Participatory Group Model Building (GMB) efforts. She will provide training and supervision to the CEC program manager and REAL graduate students for the facilitation, data collection, and analysis of the GMB. Dr. Hassan will attend the quarterly PSC meetings to co-develop the GMB with the PSC.

Carla Lewis, Community Partner

Ms. Lewis will provide oversight and leadership for ECO-Action’s youth summer program and the technical assistance that Eco-Action’s program coordinator will provide to CHART community grantees. She has been the executive director for Eco-Action for the last two years, overseeing the implementation of Eco-Action’s EPA EJ Small Grant Program, “Moving from Surviving to Thriving: Underserved Communities Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change.” Ms. Lewis will provide supervision to the program coordinator dedicated to CHART’s efforts (see below). She will also serve on the PSC. Ms. Lewis will also help identify and recruit community leaders for participation in the group model building process.

Research Capacity Building Core Team

Linelle Blais, Core Lead

Dr. Blais is an Associate Professor in the BSHE Department at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. She has demonstrated success in developing and leading capacity building initiatives and strategies through tailored learning and professional development opportunities for diverse types of health professionals, organizations and communities within a state, regionally (in the South), and nationwide. Dr. Blais brings her expertise to the Climate & Health Actionable Research and Translation Center (CHART) by serving as Core Lead of the Climate Research Capacity Building Core.

Tom Clasen, Co-Investigator

Dr. Clasen is a Professor in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. He is an environmental epidemiologist with extensive experience leading large randomized controlled trials of household- and community-based environmental health interventions to address climate-related risks in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Dr. Clasen will support the Climate & Health Actionable Research and Translation Center (CHART) by serving as Co-Investigator on the Climate Research Capacity Building Core that focuses on building research capacity and partnerships, and by serving as lead of the pilot research program.

Lilian Madrigal, Co-Investigator

Dr. Madrigal is the Director of Implementation Science and Practice at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Her work focuses on the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to promote health behaviors and outcomes, and professional development and scaling of the public health workforce. Dr. Madrigal brings subject matter expertise on implementation research, project leadership, curriculum development, capacity building training and technical assistance, and communities of practice to this Climate Research Capacity Building Core. Dr. Madrigal brings her expertise to the Climate & Health Actionable Research and Translation Center (CHART) by serving as Co-Investigator of the Climate Research Capacity Building Core.

Rebecca Philipsborn, Co-Investigator

Dr. Philipsborn is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, in the Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine. Her work focuses on the collective understanding and consideration of the environmental- child health interface in clinical care, teaching, and research to support children’s health today and tomorrow. Dr. Philipsborn will support the Climate & Health Actionable Research and Translation Center (CHART) by serving as Co-Investigator on the Climate Research Capacity Building Core by serving as a subject matter expert in training and teaching in climate change specific topics for capacity building across all three Aims.