EPA Administrator encourages Meharry students and leaders in Environmental Engagement and public health

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The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, delivered a call-to-action to Meharry students during Inauguration Week. 

Nearly 50 public health students, residents and faculty heard McCarthy’s call for all of us to take charge of our communities.  As for the Nashville and Tennessee communities, McCarthy said, “The growth around Tennessee, particularly in Nashville, highlights the importance of making sure that public health and the environment are at the core of all development and growth initiatives.”

Holly Fletcher of The Tennessean reported:

People tend to think about utilities and manufacturers as big polluters but many “don’t realize the car they’re driving is a source of pollution,” [McCarthy] said...“Public transit is key to creating sustainable cities where people can go outside without worrying about the impact of smog and soot.”

McCarthy initially came to share employment and extern opportunities with students. During her speech, however, students were given purpose in the public health realm.  Students should take their education seriously, she said, as environmental health is public health. “You are the next wonder of the world,” McCarthy said. “We need to use every tool in our toolbox to bring underprivileged communities up. I am protecting my kids, and I’m protecting yours.” 

McCarthy was greeted by Meharry’s president, Dr. James E. K. Hildreth and Dr. Maria de Fatima Lima, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. After the session, McCarthy answered questions from students and faculty—many of which were about recent water contamination issues in Flint, Michigan. 

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