Rachel Morello-Frosch, a professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and School of Public Health was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, or NAM, according to an announcement released by the organization on Monday.
The membership in NAM signifies notable achievement and service to the community within the fields of health and medicine, according to the announcement. Morello-Frosch is recognized for applying community-engaged data science in her research on environmental justice in the context of climate change and community health, the announcement added.
“Rachel is outstanding in every aspect of her academic life,” said Joan Casey, a professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University. “Beyond that though, she is an incredible collaborator. She mentors so many students at one time but does it well, and she’s also really dedicated to teaching.”
Casey said she has worked with Morello-Frosch over the years on projects related to environmental justice, including a study on the impacts historical redlining has on modern day environmental quality. She noted Morello-Frosch’s leadership in environmental justice research even when the field was poorly funded and how she has trained many others to do the work as well.
Jessica Trowbridge, an associate research scientist at the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at UCSF, noted that Morello-Frosch helped develop her research interests as a mentor. Trowbridge also said Morello-Frosch is very “down to earth” and shows genuine care for her students.
“I think Professor Morello-Frosch is a fantastic role model for the current and future generations of environmental health scientists,” said campus postdoctoral fellow, David González.
González has worked with Morello-Frosch on various projects, and noted how she is both a “generous” mentor and has trained emerging leaders in the environmental health field.
He added that she demonstrates how to actively collaborate with communities and work on policies that can measurably improve health.
“I am proud to be her colleague in public health and participatory research, and grateful for how she is paving the way for stronger recognition of the rigor and importance of community-engaged science,” said campus professor of community health sciences Emily Ozer in an email.
Morello-Frosch noted that some of her most rewarding research projects have involved deep partnerships with communities facing environmental threats. In these projects, impactful science is co-produced and helps motivate policy change, she noted.
Morello-Frosch added that she believes that community research partners are key to addressing big, modern-day environmental challenges because they have their own expertise and strategies for advocacy and organizing.
“The NAM could be an effective platform to move the conversation on environmental and climate change-related threats to human and planetary health in ways that motivate policy change,” Morello-Frosch said in an email. “I also hope that we can lift up more how environmental justice and social equity must be integral to solutions that address climate change.”