Staff Scientist, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program
Yukyan Lam is a public health scientist with the Environmental Justice (EJ) division of the Healthy People and Thriving Communities program. Her research focuses on investigating cumulative impacts–the concurrence of multiple environmental and social stressors that overburden vulnerable communities in the United States. Working closely with NRDC’s environmental justice partners, she advocates for cumulative impacts tools and policies to be implemented at the local, state, and federal levels. Her work applies methods from spatial analysis, epidemiology, and social science research. Her portfolio at NRDC also includes providing scientific analysis to support NRDC’s litigation on lead in Newark’s drinking water. In 2019, she received the American Public Health Association’s Rebecca A. Head Award, which recognizes an emerging leader working at the nexus of science, policy, and environmental justice. Prior to NRDC, Lam was a human rights lawyer in Latin America for five years, where she litigated cases on extrajudicial violence, the impacts of large-scale development projects, and the rights of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a PhD in international health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where her dissertation focused on the food and water security impacts of salinity intrusion in southwest coastal Bangladesh. She is proficient in Spanish and Portuguese, and is based out of NRDC’s New York office.