About Us

EHIB works to optimize the health of the people in California by studying how the environment affects health and by educating and informing the public. The environment is the world around us:  it is where we live, work and play. We come into contact with the environment through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Visit our “Learn” pages to understand more about environmental health.

EHIB is organized into 5 administrative units, called “Sections”. They are the Community Participation and Education Section , Exposure Assessment Section , Environmental Epidemiology Section , Site Assessment Section , and the Support Services Section .


      The Community Participation and Education Section (CPES) is the center for Branch expertise in public participation, outreach and education. CPES guides Branch activities to ensure that they respond to communities’ environmental health concerns, foster partnership, address priority issues, and instill accountability. CPES provides training in risk communication and other topics, develop environmental health education materials, including fact sheets and curricula, facilitate public forums, serve as a liaison between communities and government agencies, and collaborate with researchers on study development and design.

      Staff: Bindi Gandhi , Sara Hicks , Scott Kessler , Tivo Rojas-Cheatham (Chief) , Nila Rosen , Deanna Rossi , Janet Tobacman , Ian Walker , Lauren Wohl-Sanchez , Michelle Wong


      The Environmental Epidemiology Section (EES) conducts large-scale studies of patterns of disease and exposure. These may arise from follow up of urgent health investigations, in response to public concerns about environmental hazards and their relationship to chronic disease or adverse reproductive outcomes, or to address emerging issues identified by the scientific community that may affect Californians. EES also conducts disease surveillance as appropriate. Integral to these studies is the Branch Geographic Information System, a resource for computer mapping of health and exposure data.

      Staff: Meredith Anderson , Astrid Arretz , Angela Drake , Makinde Falade , Cathyn Fan , Kathleen Fitzsimmons , Zulma Flamenco , Judith Grether , Liang Guo , Virginia Heffernan , Sumi Hoshiko , Galatea King , Xu Li , Liza Lutzker , Helene Margolis , Meredith Milet , Eric Roberts , Julie Ruedaflores , Karen Smith , Daniel Smith (Chief) , Svetlana Smorodinsky , Lucia Somberg , Gayle Windham , Craig Wolff , Lixia Zhang


      The Exposure Assessment Section (EAS) evaluates how people may come into contact with environmental hazards (chemical, biological or physical agents), how the exposures may affect their health, and how these exposures may be reduced. This work may include studies specific to a particular location or incident or may address more widespread exposures. With staff expertise in medicine, veterinary medicine, nutrition, toxicology, environmental and human biological monitoring, EAS provides technical consultation to other sections in the Department, other state agencies, local health departments and the public related to environmental health issues. EAS works with CPES to develop educational materials and outreach programs to inform Californians about measures that may reduce exposure to environmental hazards. EAS also coordinates with other state and local agencies to assure disaster preparedness and protection of the public from chemical spills and releases, nuclear power plant incidents or other environmental emergencies.

      Staff: Lori Copan , Shelly Glassco , Martha Harnly , Diana Lee , Sharon Lee (Seidel) , Michael Lipsett (Chief) , Sandra McNeel , Kinnery Naik , May Lynn Tan , Alyce Ujihara


      The Site Assessment Section (SAS) assists communities and agencies in addressing health concerns related to hazardous waste sites and active industrial facilities. If current exposure exists, SAS works with agencies to reduce or eliminate the exposure. If sufficient exposure is or has occurred, SAS may undertake a health study to evaluate the impact of the exposure. All work is conducted in collaboration with the affected community. The section has expertise in exposure assessment including biological monitoring, toxicology and risk assessment, small-area epidemiology, community participation, and health education. SAS is funded to enhance the Branch’s environmental health capacity through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

      Staff: Tracy Barreau , Russell Bartlett , Cecile Eclache , Elizabeth Hom , Nancy Palate , Marilyn Underwood (Chief)

      Topics: Lago Nacimiento , Lake Nacimiento


    The Support Services Section (SSS) provides to the Branch administrative support in the areas of contracts, financial matters, personnel, project planning, time accounting, and space management. Other support is offered in areas of clerical services and data processing, including software, hardware, network, and mapping.

    Staff: Jack Collins , Kathy Elliott , Phillip Gonzaga , Rona Hampton , Anne Ndivo , Michele Sabel , Ramona Smith , Latasha Speech , Alexa Wilkie