Dr. Shelley Hearne is Forsythia Foundation’s executive director. She brings to the foundation a wealth of experience in building the environmental health and public health advocacy fields. She is also a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the senior advisor to the Big Cities Health Coalition, which represents the leaders of America’s largest urban health departments.
Prior to joining the foundation, Shelley served as the managing director of the Pew Health Group of the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she oversaw its food safety, medical safety, research, and biomedical programs. She was also the founding executive director of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a national health advocacy organization dedicated to preventing epidemics. Earlier in her career, Shelley worked as the executive director of the Pew Environmental Health Commission, the acting director of the Office of Pollution Prevention in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. While at the Commission and TFAH, Shelley led the effort to create a nationwide environmental health tracking system.
Shelley has also dedicated much of her time to volunteer work. She currently serves on the board of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Japan, which provides medical oversight and researches the health effects of the atomic bombs on survivors and of the Fukushima nuclear accident on workers. She also recently served on the congressionally mandated study by the National Academies of Science on lessons of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Additionally, Shelley was the chair of the American Public Health Association’s Executive Board and the vice president of the Council on Education for Public Health, the accreditation body for public health schools.
Shelley has authored many national health reports on topics ranging from bioterrorism to obesity. She has testified regularly before the US Congress on bioterrorism, pandemic preparedness, and environmental health tracking. She has conducted numerous public-health school accreditations around the world, and has overseen the accreditation site visits of Harvard University and Yale University.
Shelley received her BA in chemistry and environmental studies with honors from Bowdoin College and her doctorate in environmental health sciences from Columbia University’s School of Public Health.