Little Things Matter

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Introducing the Little Things Matter Team

We are Little Things Matter; an international team of scientists, researchers, physicians, graduate students, public health practitioners, and advocates. We translate children’s environmental health science for mass media consumption into free, easy-to-understand materials, to spread awareness about the effects of toxic chemicals on the health of populations and the planet.

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Kam Sripada, PhD

Neuroscientist, and LTM Content Maven, Norway

Kam’s work aims to bridge neurodevelopment and environmental exposures in light of social inequalities globally especially in children who face biological, social, and environmental risks in early life. “Pollution is an underestimated threat to children’s brain development and a violation of every child’s right to a safe and healthy environment.”

Bruce

Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH

SFU Professor of Health Sciences
Prevention Wizard, 
Canada

Bruce has been studying environmental exposures like lead and other toxic chemicals for the past 30 years. His work focuses on the impacts of fetal and early childhood exposure to environmental toxic chemicals, including pesticides. He is a champion for the power of prevention to manage the pandemic of chronic disease that is due to the widespread exposure of toxic chemicals and pollutants.

Bruce
Rivka

Rivka Green

LTM Pediatric Protector, Canada

Rivka is a doctoral student studying clinical developmental neuropsychology at York University in Toronto. Together with her knowledge translation efforts she is applying her research and clinical backgrounds to optimize child health outcomes before insult occurs.

Bob

Bob Lanphear

Creative Force and Media Maestro, USA

Bob is a true advocate for the time-tested wisdom that a picture is worth a 1000 words. He believes that we learn faster and retain information better through visualization. For over 30 years he has been melding artistry and technology, crafting compelling visual narratives that catalyze change in the world. Follow us on any of Little Things Matter‘s social media channels and see how it works.

Bob
Samer

Samer Rihadi

LTM Communications, Canada

Samer is a 1st-year Master of Public Health student at Simon Fraser University. He is interested in environmental and oral health and plans to study dentistry after finishing his Masters. Samer is passionate about making meaningful change in his community. He loves exploring new restaurants, hiking with friends and holds the self-acclaimed award for the lamest jokes on the entire west coast.

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Carly Goodman

LTM Communications, Canada

Carly is a Masters student studying clinical-developmental psychology at York University in Toronto. She is interested in the relationship between maternal and child health with a focus on the impact of prenatal environmental exposures on children’s brain development.  When not in school, Carly loves to travel, do yoga and bake.

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Jessica

Jessica Lightfoot

Angry Mom and Ad Woman, USA

Jessica joined Little Things Matter while completing her Master of Public Health (MPH) at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. She brings professional experience in mass communication, advertising, and museum exhibits. Her goal is to educate the public about hidden health risks as well as provide tips for creating a healthy home. Jessica wants everyone to know that dust is not just something in grandmother’s closet, but a cocktail of toxic chemical components.

Jessica imagines a world with clean air, clean water, and accessible organic fruits and vegetables. She dreams of a world where Government and Industry take responsibility for cleaning up environmental resources and big pharma isn’t the only solution in town.
You can find her wet cleaning her apartment and working on her side project, 52 Pick-Up.

Carolina

Carolina Lerma Treviño

LTM Communications Intern , Mexico

Carolina has a Master of Science in Environmental Health from the National Institute of Public Health with a focus on prenatal arsenic exposure and DNA methylation. Her areas of interest are medical geology and the impact of early life exposures, mainly those carcinogenic elements such as arsenic and radon. In addition, she is also interested in nuclear energy and the environment.

In her free time, Carolina enjoys visiting different coffee shops to sit and sip a latte.

Carolina
Cecilia

Cecilia Alcala, PhD, MPH

Health & Wellness EnthusiastUSA

Cecilia is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, to immigrant parents from Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. She is no stranger to the health care system; at birth, she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. 

As a child, Cecilia had pediatric cardiology follow-ups which sparked her interest in understanding the origins of disease. She learned about the importance of health, research, cardiology, and of course the main question, “How did she get this condition, when no one in her family has ever had heart disease?” Her cardiologist explained that multiple factors led to her condition, including the environment and genetics, but they couldn’t answer my question. Growing up in Brooklyn, Cecilia saw how low-income minority communities were disproportionally impacted by lack of green spaces, food deserts and toxic chemicals. Her research is focused on how chemical and non- chemical stressors cause respiratory disease in children. Due to her experience with chronic health conditions and the complexity of the healthcare system, she wants to develop effective translation strategies to improve children’s health, especially underserved children.

In her spare time, Cecilia is a Spin Instructor at Spiked Spin & Wellness Co., helping her clients become the healthiest and best versions of themselves, while encompassing all components of wellness. She also enjoys traveling to new countries, and immersing herself into the various cultures through food.

Galillee

Galilee Mengesha

LTM Communications Intern , USA

Galilee is an undergraduate student in neuroscience on a pre-medicine track at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Galilee, who was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, grew up in a multicultural household that celebrates diversity and heritage.

Galiliee is learning about toxic chemicals hidden in our foods, the air we breathe, and even the clothes we wear. She creates posts for Little Things Matter to help people learn about the impact of toxic chemicals, especially for people with limited access to this information.

When Galilee is not in class, she likes to cook, exercise, or find cute cafes in the L.A. area!

Galillee
Raf

Rafael Buralli, MSc, PhD

LTM , Brazil

Rafael is a Brazilian scientist who is curious about everything that impacts people’s health.

“As a child in a small town in the Brazilian Amazon, I watched gold miners melting mercury in the rivers and children getting sick from the forest burning in the dry season without realizing that those situations were sparking my interest in public health.”

During my Master’s and Doctorate at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, I joined a multidisciplinary team to investigate the health effects of environmental and occupational exposure to pesticides on family farms. I realized that the entire family members was involved in cultivation, but women and children were the most vulnerable. As a visiting student at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) at UC Berkeley, I saw firsthand the power of participatory research to protect children’s health.

Currently, I am a technical consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) at the General Coordination of Occupational Health Surveillance of the Brazilian Ministry of Health (CGSAT/SVS/MS) and work on diverse themes and political agendas related to environmental and occupational health. I enjoy collaborating with international teams to solve problems more effectively. Even so, I am still trying to figure out the best ways to promote inclusive, equitable, and long-lasting societal changes.

I believe policies are essential, and people’s power and commitment can change our daily lives. For that, scientific knowledge must go beyond the scientific articles and reach people to make a real impact. Social engagement and access to trustable information are critical. This is why I am so excited about working with Little Things Matter.

In my spare time, you can find me backpacking, hiking or chilling around.

Yoshida

Dr. Yoshira “Yoshi” Ornelas Van Horne

Sci-Com Enthusiast , USA

Dr. Yoshira Ornelas Van Horne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Yoshira, the first Latina to receive a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Arizona, is an alumna of the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Fellowship.

Yoshira’s research focuses on addressing unequal exposures to harmful contaminants that affect structurally marginalized communities. Yorisha is investigating the combined impact of pesticides and dust exposures on respiratory health of children of the Imperial Valley in California, USA. She is committed to building health equity through community-driven research and is passionate about research translation and communication.

In her spare time, she enjoys going on extended walks with her adorable maltee-poo, Ajax and perfecting espresso shots.

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Marcela

Dr. Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz

Early Life Exposure InvestigatorMexico

Dr. Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz was born and raised in Mexico City, a place well known for being one of the biggest and most populated and polluted by both chemical and non-chemical exposures in Latin America (LA). After working as a product designer with traditional artisans in rural Mexico who use lead to glaze their beautiful ceramics, in 2005 Marcela began her journey as an environmental and occupational epidemiologist. Her work has focused on early-life exposures and children’s and maternal health collaborating with international interdisciplinary teams. 

Since 2020 she heads the occupational health research unit at the Mexican Social Security Institute, the largest health care provider in LA. She is committed to help translate scientific and epidemiology findings to clear and effective messages everyone can understand and that can help adopt change. There is nothing Marcela enjoys more than spending time with her family and friends, listening to classical music and swimming laps in the mornings.

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Creating a Healthy Future for All Children