Milken Institute School of Public Health Announces New Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

WASHINGTON (Jan. 31, 2023) – Today the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University named Susan Anenberg as the new Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. Anenberg, who has been at Milken Institute SPH since 2016, is also an associate professor of environmental and occupational health and of global health. In addition she currently serves as the Director of the chartered GW Climate & Health Institute, which prioritizes cross-disciplinary research, training, and action aimed at the health challenges brought on by climate change.

“I am thrilled to announce that Susan will be the new Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health,” Lynn R. Goldman, Dean of the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, said. “Susan’s deep knowledge of climate and health issues and vision for the future will help guide the department as well as the next generation of environmental and occupational health health leaders.”

Previously, Anenberg served as an environmental protection specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2010 until 2014. From 2014 to 2016 she was the deputy managing director for recommendations at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

And in 2016 she co-founded a consulting firm, Environmental Health Analytics.

After serving at GW for five years, Anenberg considers GW and the Milken Institute School of Public Health her professional home. She credits an introductory environmental health class she took in 2005 at the school with sparking a desire to pursue her PhD in environmental health.

Anenberg says that the last few years have brought the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic to the fore. Yet she says the department and its faculty rose to the challenge and are forging ahead with innovative, high-impact programs, research and student-centric teaching.

“Our faculty, staff, and students are addressing environmental and occupational issues that are leading public health risk factors in the U.S. and globally, like climate change, pollution, antibiotic resistance and workplace hazards,” Anenberg said. “I’m inspired by their passion and talent, and envision further growing the department’s  world class research and engagement with communities and policy processes to advance health, well being and environmental justice locally, nationally and globally.”  

While at GW, Anenberg and her colleagues have led many groundbreaking research studies including three published in 2022 in the journal the Lancet Planetary Health. Anenberg and her team found that nearly 2 million children worldwide develop asthma as a result of breathing traffic-related pollutants. In all, her team’s research showed that each year 1.8 million excess deaths around the world are linked to urban air pollution.

Anenberg currently serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, the World Health Organization’s Global Air Pollution and Health Technical Advisory Group and the National Academy of Sciences’s Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She also serves as the President of the American Geophysical Union’s GeoHealth section.

She earned both her PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering, Environmental Policy and an MS in Environmental Science and Engineering from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. Anenberg has a BA in Environmental Science and Biology from Northwestern University.