Staff Scientist, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program
Yukyan Lam is a public health scientist working on environmental justice (EJ) in the Healthy People & Thriving Communities program. Her research focuses on investigating the cumulative impacts of environmental and social vulnerability in low-income communities and communities of color in the United States. Working with NRDC’s community and EJ 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 analysis to advance litigation and advocacy on safe 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 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 in NRDC’s New York office.