UCSF Sustainability Stories


Sophia Labeko


Extracurricular: Next Generation of Environmental Health Leaders

Four UCSF students are learning, researching, and getting on the frontlines of environmental health. Each one tackling unique challenges and questions in the hope to inform policymakers and better serve their communities and future patients.

The students belong to the Environmental Scholar Program (ESP), initiated by UCSF Environmental Research and Translation for Health Center (EaRTH). ESP is a three-year community-based clinical and research program, “designed to build the next generation of environmental health leaders.” Initially, the program wanted to recruit two participants, “but we had such a phenomenal group and amazing applicants, that we took four,” Annemarie Charlesworth, MA, director of the EaRTH Center.

The Phenomenal Four

Lizbeth Cabrera, second-year student at UCSF School of Nursing. As part of her ESP internship, Cabrera spent three months with Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, a program that combines community organizing with education, advocacy, and direct services. They serve an underprivileged community of people, who are often marginally housed and experience food insecurities.

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Anna Claire Fernández, second-year medical student at the UC Berkeley and UCSF joint Medical Program. For her internship, she worked with Amy Padula, PhD, MSc, in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences to investigate the relationship between wildfire smoke exposure and adverse birth outcomes, like weight.

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Olivia Leventhal is a second-year student at UCSF School of Medicine. She interned with Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy, where she conducted a systematic literature review of the most common natural gas odorants and the associated health effects.

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Madeline Matthys, is a second-year student at UCSF School of Medicine. She interned with Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy, a nonprofit research institute that studies how energy production and use impact public health and the environment.

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