POLICY forum series: air quality and health equity
about the program
Minnesota is fortunate enough to enjoy relatively good air quality, but as demonstrated by recent studies, we know that not all Minnesotans breathe the same, clean air. For a multitude of reasons, the health effects of poor air quality fall disproportionately on urban areas with lower-income residents and residents of color. In his final term, Governor Dayton has made addressing racial and economic disparities a primary concern, and as a result there is increased pressure to focus on equity in public decision-making and policy programs.
While these issues are not new, a number of state and local initiatives will influence how we address air quality and its relationship to health moving forward. These include the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s establishment of an Environmental Justice Advisory Group, the Green Zone Policy in the City of Minneapolis, and the infusion of additional money from public and private sources into improving air quality and addressing health disparities.
At this forum, participants explored a diverse set of perspectives on what would need to be done in order to address air quality and its effects on health equity in Minnesota. This forum gathered public decision makers, the business community, and environmental and health advocates to share perspectives and discuss opportunities.
This forum explored:
- Public-sector initiatives already underway seeking to address air quality and health equity goals.
- Successful approaches to engaging and involving impacted communities with a focus on reducing health disparities.
- What air quality programs and policies could look like with health equity as a central goal.
- Changes to policy and funding allocation practices that might be required in order to realize this vision.
- Dr. Paul Allwood, Assistant Commissioner, Health Protection Bureau, Minnesota Department of Health
- Anita Urvina Davis, Member, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Environmental Justice Advisory Group and North Minneapolis Resident
- Shalini Gupta, Executive Director, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
- Mike Hansel, Senior Chemical Engineer and Vice President, Barr Engineering
- Dr. Charles Lee, Deputy Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Gretchen Musicant, Health Commissioner, City of Minneapolis
- Dr. Nicky Sheats, Director, Center for the Urban Environment, Thomas Edison State College
- John Linc Stine, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
For questions about this program, contact Andrea Robbins at 612-334-3388 ext. 8110.