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Addressing the Impacts of Lead: Moving Toward Prevention

In recognition of the serious human and economic consequences of lead poisoning, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is convening a forum on the topic November 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. The event will highlight what we know about the impacts of lead exposure on human capital, the societal and economic costs associated with exposure, and approaches and policies that have shown success in other places in addressing the causes and effects of lead poisoning.

Our goal is to raise the importance and urgency of this issue in our community in a way that will reach a broader audience and lead to future action. We will end the day discussing what is needed to keep this critical issue at the forefront of our public discussion regarding programmatic and policy priorities.


This one-day forum is a research- and policy-oriented event that will focus on the impacts of lead exposure on children; the costs associated with lead exposure; and promising approaches and policies to prevent the problems associated with lead exposure.

Friday, November 18, 2016

8:00–8:40 am Continental Breakfast & Registration
8:45–9:00 am Welcome and opening remarks
Loretta J. MesterPresident and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
9:00–10:30 am Panel 1: Impacts of lead poisoning on children and young adults
In this opening panel, researchers will discuss the impacts of lead poisoning, including consequences for lead-exposed children in terms of their IQ, educational outcomes, and likelihood of engaging in criminal activity.

Anna AizerProfessor of Economics, Brown University and Co-Director of the Children’s Program, National Bureau of Economic Research, (presentation)
Kim DietrichProfessor of Environmental Health and Epidemiology, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, (presentation)
Jessica Wolpaw ReyesProfessor of Economics, Amherst College, (presentation)
Sharunda BuchananActing Chief, Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and Director of the Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Centers for Disease Control (moderator), (presentation)
10:30–10:45 am Break
10:45–12:15 pm Panel 2: Lead poisoning costs and successful prevention approaches
This panel will document the human capital, economic, and social costs associated with lead poisoning, as well as discuss successful strategies and policy approaches that focus on primary prevention.

Elise GouldSenior Economist, Economic Policy Institute, (presentation)
Katrina KorfmacherAssociate Professor and Director of Community Outreach, University of Rochester Medical Center’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, (presentation)
Ruth Ann NortonExecutive Director and CEO, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, (presentation)
Michelle MillerDeputy Director, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, Housing and Urban Development (moderator)
12:15–12:55 pm Lunch
1:00–2:30 pm Panel 3: Local challenges and promising approaches to tackling lead poisoning
Our last panel will discuss some of the obstacles and challenges in Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland, and will also focus on efforts underway to move toward prevention.

Terry AllanHealth Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, (presentation)
Claudia CoultonDistinguished University Professor and the Lillian F. Harris Professor, Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, (presentation)
Kim ForemanExecutive Director, Environmental Health Watch, (presentation)
Ron J. H. O’LearyDirector, Department of Building and Housing, City of Cleveland (moderator)
2:30–3:15 pm Facilitated discussion on next steps
Moderator: Paul KabothVice President and Community Development Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland


Anna Aizer is a professor of economics and public policy at Brown University and codirector of the Children’s Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research focuses on understanding the intergenerational persistence of poverty. Dr. Aizer has studied the roles family violence, health, stress, exposure to environmental toxins, and human capital investment patterns play in perpetuating poverty across generations. Her current research includes estimating whether poor and minority children’s disproportionate exposure to lead can explain observed disparities in test scores, as well as the relationship between early exposure to lead and in-school disciplinary infractions. Dr. Aizer earned an MPH from Harvard University and a PhD in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Terry Allan is health commissioner at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH), a position he has held since 2004. CCBH serves as the local public health authority for approximately 855,000 citizens in 57 Greater Cleveland communities. Mr. Allan is also an adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and was a Year 13 Scholar of the CDC’s National Public Health Leadership Institute. He has served in a range of capacities locally, including as a member of an emergency preparedness workgroup of the Ohio Department of Health. Nationally, he also serves as a member of both the National Public Health Accreditation Board’s (PHAB) accreditation improvement committee and the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, and he serves on the state, local, territorial, and tribal workgroup supporting the advisory committee to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Allan was recently appointed to the national advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leaders program. He earned a BS in biology from Bowling Green State University and an MPH from the University of Hawaii.

Sharunda Buchanan is director of the Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services and is acting chief of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health (CDC NCEH). In 1990, Dr. Buchanan joined the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as an environmental health scientist in the Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences. Later she joined the CDC as an epidemic intelligence officer assigned to the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects (DEHHE). During her tenure with DEHHE, Dr. Buchanan contributed to the expansion of the research agendas of two national programs aimed at reducing lead poisoning. She earned a BS and an MS in chemistry and toxicology from Texas Southern University and a PhD in biochemistry from Clark Atlanta University.

Claudia J. Coulton is Lillian F. Harris Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), where she has earned the status of “Distinguished University Professor.” She is founding director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. Under her leadership, the Center has built a model with the capacity to provide data for community initiatives and research, including a dynamic neighborhood indicators portal, a parcel-based collaborative action platform, and a longitudinal multiagency record linkage system. Dr. Coulton is one of the founders of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and has served as research advisor to many community change programs, including Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives (now called the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change), the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections program, and Cuyahoga Country’s Invest in Children initiative. She is currently leading an American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare “Grand Challenges for Social Work” on harnessing technology for social good. She holds a BS in sociology from Ohio Wesleyan University, an MSW from Ohio State University, and a PhD in social welfare from CWRU.

Kim Dietrich is a professor of environmental health and epidemiology and director of the Molecular Epidemiology in Children’s Environmental Health training program at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine (UCCM). He has served as associate director of the Cincinnati Children’s Center for Environmental Health and Disease Prevention at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati and is the former director of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCCM. Dr. Dietrich has been a consultant for numerous local, state, national, and international agencies and organizations concerned with the impact of environmental chemical exposures on the health and development of young children. He also acts as associate editor of Environmental Health Perspectives and serves on the editorial boards of Neurotoxicology and Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Dr. Dietrich’s research has focused on the developmental effects of prenatal and early postnatal exposure to lead in infants, toddlers, school-aged children, adolescents, and young adults. He is presently examining the relationships among early exposure to lead, genetic factors, and adult criminality in a longstanding prospective longitudinal birth cohort study. He holds a PhD.

Kim Foreman is executive director of Environmental Health Watch (EHW) in Cleveland, focusing on environmental justice issues and adverse outcomes of environmental exposures that disproportionately impact poor and minority communities. She is also a licensed lead risk assessor and a Roots of Success instructor. During her 17 years with EHW, Ms. Foreman has developed, implemented, and managed a range of research and grassroots projects locally and nationally and has spoken at conventions across the country. She serves on several boards and advisory committees and is a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland program at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Ms. Foreman earned a BA in sociology from Case Western Reserve University.

Elise Gould is a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. Her research areas include wages, poverty, inequality, economic mobility, and healthcare. Dr. Gould is a coauthor of The State of Working America. Her additional work has appeared in venues such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Challenge Magazine, and Tax Notes and in peer-reviewed journals such as Health EconomicsHealth AffairsJournal of Aging & Social PolicyRisk Management and Insurance ReviewEnvironmental Health Perspectives, and the International Journal of Health Services. She has testified before the US House Committee on Ways and Means, the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the State of Maryland’s Senate Finance and House Economic Matters committees, the New York City Council, and the District of Columbia Council. She holds an MPA from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Paul Kaboth is vice president and community development officer in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His responsibilities include strategic oversight of the department’s work on a range of consumer credit, community reinvestment, and asset-building issues. He also directs research, outreach, and public programs that promote fair and equal access to credit in the Fourth Federal Reserve District. Mr. Kaboth began his career with the Cleveland Fed in 1986 as a field examiner; he subsequently held positions of increasing responsibility within the Bank’s Supervision and Regulation area, including assistant vice president with responsibility for the group’s strategic planning and budgeting, information technology support, training and development, and administrative staff. He was appointed to his current position in 2011. Mr. Kaboth is a member of the board of directors of the Economic and Community Development Institute and is chair of its Cleveland advisory board. He holds a BBA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and is a commissioned bank examiner.

Katrina Korfmacher is an associate professor and director of community outreach at the Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She also serves as outreach specialist for the university’s Finger Lakes Occupational Health Services. Her outreach work addresses through policy change environmental health and justice issues of the communities in and around Rochester, and her research as a policy scientist explores the use of science by community groups trying to solve environmental problems. Since 2002, Dr. Korfmacher has developed, participated in, supported, and evaluated community partnerships related to childhood lead poisoning prevention, subsistence fish consumption, and healthy homes in Rochester. During the past five years, she has led efforts to increase capacity in the health impacts assessment and the health in all policies measurements in the region. She also coordinates the EHSC’s community advisory board and participates in local, state, and national organizations related to community environmental health. Dr. Korfmacher is coauthor of Collaborative Environmental Management: What Roles for Government? She holds an MS in water quality management and a PhD in environmental studies from Duke University.

Loretta J. Mester has been president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland since June 2014. In this role, she participates in the formulation of US monetary policy and oversees 950 employees in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Previously, Dr. Mester was executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, where she acted as chief policy advisor, attended meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, and oversaw economists and analysts in the Research Department and professionals in the Financial Statistics Department and the Payments Cards Center. She is an adjunct professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a fellow at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center, and her work has appeared in refereed journals and spans a variety of topics, including economics, central banking, and financial issues. Dr. Mester is managing editor of the International Journal of Central Banking and coeditor of the Journal of Financial Services Research. She is a director of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and a trustee of the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Mester holds a BA in mathematics and economics from Barnard College of Columbia University and both an MA and a PhD in economics from Princeton University.

Michelle Miller is the deputy director for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. She has also been a HUD director for the programs division and acted as the Regions 7 and 8 Healthy Homes representative. She previously served as the director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s (KDHE) Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Prevention program. Prior to working with KDHE, Ms. Miller held various roles directing and leading other city and county environmental public health programs in capacity building, grant management, policy development, and program evaluation.

Ruth Ann Norton is president and chief executive officer of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a national nonprofit dedicated to the elimination of childhood lead poisoning and the creation of healthy, safe, and energy-efficient housing. She has led efforts to reduce childhood lead poisoning by 98 percent in the state of Maryland and has also developed and implemented one of the nation’s first healthy homes programs to address the multiple environmental health and safety hazards in low- and very-low-income housing for pregnant women. She holds a senior advisory role with Energy Efficiency for All and has served as a federally appointed liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and as an expert panel member for HUD’s Healthy Homes Program Guidance Manual. She serves as a director of Groundswell and is on the Executive Committee of the Maryland Asthma Control Council as well as on the steering committee for Network Energy Water and Health in Affordable Housing. She earned her BA in economics and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ronald J.H. Orsquo;Leary is director in the Department of Building and Housing for the City of Cleveland. This department registers building contractors, inspects all new construction and renovations, and provides code enforcement under the building, housing, and zoning codes. Mr. O’Leary held several positions prior to his current position. Early in his career, he joined the City of Cleveland Department of Law as an assistant prosecutor and subsequently was the chief assistant director of law for code enforcement and then a judge with the Cleveland Municipal Court. After leaving the court, Mr. O’Leary was an attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs and taught as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Mr. O’Leary earned a BA and an MA from Miami University and a JD from Case Western Reserve University.

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes is professor of economics at Amherst College. Her research focuses on public health and social impacts of environmental pollution, malpractice and physician behavior, and other topics in applied microeconomics. Dr. Reyes is particularly interested in areas of health and inequality, and much of her work investigates the adverse societal effects of childhood lead exposure. She serves as chair of the Advisory Committee to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. She earned a BS in mathematics and chemistry from Amherst College and a PhD in economics from Harvard University.