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Health and Socioeconomic Impacts of Environmental Racism

By Maddie Bunting |

The season 2 opener of the “Policy Chats” podcast series, a production of the UCR School of Public Policy, features a discussion on environmental racism with Cesunica Ivey, UCR assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

According to Ivey, the environmental justice movement was developed in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. Environmental racism is a subset of this movement and points to environmental hazards and injustices that disproportionately affect people of color.

“Environmental justice impacts are multidimensional,” Ivey said. “And they have long-term health and socioeconomic consequences simply because you grew up in an environment in a hazardous neighborhood.”  

Ivey has a background in mathematics, civil engineering, and environmental engineering, and she received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in 2016. Her research interests include source apportionment of fine particulate matter, regional air quality modeling for health applications, global atmospheric modeling, and environmental justice.

Public policy major Paola Loera, who served as co-interviewer for the episode, said, “As cities continue to urbanize and fires continue to persist in California, Dr. Ivey’s dedication to mapping, characterizing, and presenting the issues of air quality is astounding and vitally important in today’s day and age.”

Launched in 2020, the UCR School of Public Policy podcast series explores current public policy issues with guests from throughout the policy world. Episodes are accessible via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor. More information is also available through the UCR School of Public Policy podcast page.