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Dr. Johnnye Lewis, PhD, will serve as the keynote presenter for the Global Health Case Competition. Her lecture is titled “Global Legacy of Environmental Injustice to Indigenous Peoples in the Wake of Weapons Development, Industry, and Technology.” The lecture will be on Friday, September 22 at 12:00pm EST in room 124 of the Lee Todd Building, UK College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Johnnye Lewis is a toxicologist and the founder and, from 1996 until her retirement in 2022, the Director of the Community Environmental Health Program (CEHP) at the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center College of Pharmacy. She now co-directs CEHP with Dr. Debra MacKenzie.   She holds an MA in Psychology (University of Victoria), Ph.D. in Pharmacology (University of Manitoba), and did her postdoctoral work in inhalation toxicology at the DOE Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute. After running her own environmental health consulting business looking primarily at the impacts of Cold War weapons wastes on indigenous lands and communities, she went to the University of New Mexico in 1996 and began building community/research partnerships to address environmental injustice concerns through team science that integrates population and field studies with mechanistic laboratory studies to link exposures to outcomes, confirm mechanisms, and develop environmental and health interventions to reduce risk. 

Her most recent work has focused on community-driven studies of multi-generational impacts of exposures to abandoned mine wastes resulting from Cold War Weapons development, examining the mobility and toxicity of these mixtures within the context of current land use practices. As a Professor Emerita, she continues as Director of the UNM METALS Superfund Center (NIEHS), and as  MPI of the Navajo Birth Cohort/ECHO study (NIH-OD) and the Center for Native American Environmental Health Research Equity (NIMHD). She is also partnering to pair Indigenous artists with scientists to improve research translation, expand research perspectives, and most recently, to envision new strategies for long-term management and disposal of the massive volumes of Cold War waste on Indigenous lands.

“Dr. Lewis brings a unique expertise to this year’s Global Health Case Competition Keynote Presentation,” said Melody Ryan, Assistant Provost for Global Health Initiatives. “We’re excited for students to delve deeper with her into issues of environmental justice and inequality.”