By Richard Fireman Published in News & Observer on June 28, 2012 This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act. To improve health and the environment, this statute required North Carolina’s coal-burning power plants to...read more
Medical Advocates for Healthy Air
Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (MAHA) is a statewide network of medical and health professionals leading the call for cleaner air. MAHA members learn about the health impacts of air quality so that they can help their patients and advocate for strong, clean air policies.
Charged with the responsibility to prevent disease whenever they can, medical and health professionals have an important role to play in protecting their patients from air pollution. Trusted sources of information who see the impact of air pollution and climate change on the health of their patients, the nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, public health educators and other professionals participating in MAHA can make an impact with a unified voice.
MAHA works closely with partners such as medical schools, healthcare organizations, research institutes, government agencies and other environmental and health advocates in order to ensure we are engaging with our members and our policy makers as effectively as possible. Committed healthcare leaders representing diverse professions who serve on MAHA’s Advisory Board help with outreach and engagement strategy. If you are interested in having MAHA partner with your organization, please contact us!
MAHA staff, members and partner organizations visit NC policymakers to discuss the importance of clean air to health.
Two recent research studies from Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease carried out by Calderon-Garciduenas, L. reported links between air pollution exposure and neuroinflammation and neuropathology. Brain samples from healthy children who died in accidents in Mexico City...read more
On Wednesday, June 6, doctors from Medical Advocates for Healthy Air and the NC Pediatric Society joined a press conference in Raleigh with Senator Ellie Kinnaird (Chapel Hill) and spoke against HB 952. This bill weakens North Carolina’s air toxics program and puts...read more
As a MAHA member, you will have access to healthy air trainings, information on research and tools that can help patient care, and convenient opportunities for communicating with policymakers.
It does not have to take much time to be an effective advocate because MAHA helps you fit advocacy into your schedule. Advocacy opportunities range from simply adding one’s name to a sign-on letter, to meeting with a legislator or testifying at a policy making hearing. You can choose the opportunities that are right for you.
Our email communications include a monthly newsletter, invitations to events such as the NC BREATHE Conference, trainings or local meetings, and action alerts when we need your help to promote a clean air policy — or to prevent a policy that will harm our air quality.
To join MAHA, simply fill out the short member interest survey below or contact us.
MAHA Advisory Board
Consisting of medical and health professionals from across the state, the Advisory Board participates in a quarterly one-hour conference call to discuss current issues and directions for MAHA’s advocacy and education initiatives. We are seeking to diversify our membership with representation from minority health professionals and rural communities. If you or someone you know would like to serve on our Advisory Board, please contact us.
Dr. Larry Raymond, ScM, Charlotte
Dr. Larry Raymond, ScM is Professor of Family Medicine (Ret.) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has served faithfully as a board advisor to Clean Air Carolina for over ten years and has chaired Medical Advocates for Healthy Air since 2007. As chair of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, Dr. Raymond has spoken at press conferences and public hearings, written comments to federal and state regulatory agencies, presented programs to physicians at Levine Children’s Hospital, and assumes the co-chair position of Mecklenburg County Medical Society’s Public Health Committee to further raise awareness of the connection between clean air and good health. In June 2014, he was appointed to serve on the NC Environmental Management Committee which oversees all rules related to air and water in our state.
Megan Davies, MD, Raleigh
Dr. Megan Davies is a public health consultant with a focus in public health decision making, public health surveillance, and outbreak response. Dr. Davies served as the State Epidemiologist and Chief of the Epidemiology Section of the North Carolina Division of Public Health from August 2009 until August 2016, overseeing communicable disease, occupational, and environmental epidemiology activities, as well as public health preparedness and response for natural and manmade events. She received her BA degree from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, and her MD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed residency training in Family Medicine at East Carolina University and then practiced family medicine in western North Carolina for four years. Her epidemiology training was in CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. Dr. Davies was deployed on CDC response teams to the anthrax attacks of 2001 and to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Candace Allen, BSAS, RRT, RCP, Jamesville
Candace Allen is a National Board for Respiratory Care Certified Respiratory Therapist and serves as a Pediatric Asthma Program Coordinator at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie, North Carolina. In her role, she trains patients and their families to cope with an asthma diagnosis, provides individualized education for patients and their families regarding asthma, and informs patients about the AQI and how it can be utilized to avoid disease triggers. Ms. Allen previously served as a Respiratory Care Practitioner at Vidant Chowan Hospital and at Vidant Cardiopulmonary Rehab. In addition to her work, Ms. Allen is an active member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, North Carolina Asthma Alliance, and the Association of Asthma Educators.
Greg Kearney, DrPH, MPH, REHS, Greenville
Dr. Greg Kearney is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, where he teaches epidemiology and environmental health. He has worked at local, state and federal levels in environmental health, including the State of Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health. He directs the Eastern Carolina Asthma Prevention Program (ECAPP) for the 29 eastern county region. Greg is a member of the National Environmental Health Association and the Duke COPD Task Force. Originally from eastern N.C., Dr. Kearney graduated from The University of South Florida with degrees in urban and regional planning and public health, and received a doctorate in public health with a concentration in environmental health sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is married to Michelle and has two sons, Patrick and Tanner.
Dr. Stephen Keener, MD, MPH, Charlotte
Dr. Keener has been with the Mecklenburg County Health Department for over 17 years, and currently serves as the Department’s Medical Director. Dr. Keener practices in Family Medicine as well as Public Health & General Preventive Medicine, and holds degrees from Davidson College, UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Keener serves as an ex-officio member of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society board of directors and has spoken at press conferences and public hearings on a number of air quality issues including ozone pollution, diesel emissions and coal ash waste.
L. Layton Long, Jr, MSA, REHS, Pittsboro
Layton Long is Public Health Director for the Chatham County Health Department. Mr. Long has been in the public health field since 1988 and served in the environmental health field of Union, Transylvania, and Buncombe county health departments. He has also served as the State Environmental Health Director in North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services and Health Director for Davidson County. He earned degrees from Central Michigan University and North Carolina Wesleyan College, and served four years in the United States Air Force.
Karen Oles, PharmD, MS, Kernersville
Dr. Karen Oles is a clinical pharmacist at the Northwest Community Care Network of Wake Forest Baptist Health. As part of a population-based health care model, she provides chronic disease management and consultation in a General Internal Medicine clinic that serves a largely indigent population. She was previously a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her Masters degree in interdisciplinary epidemiology from Wake Forest University.
Dr. Robert Parr, DO, Wilmington
Dr. Parr is an emergency physician practicing in Wilmington and has been active since 2008 in the Stop Titan coalition, a community-based organization opposed to the planned Titan Cement manufacturing and strip mine facility on the Cape Fear River. Bob is a passionate voice for clean air and has penned numerous op-eds and letters to the editor in Raleigh and Wilmington newspapers to educate the public and policy makers about the dangerous impact the cement plant will have on air quality. Dr. Parr was a leader in MAHA’s fight to save North Carolina’s air toxics program in 2012, preparing health statistics on affected counties and speaking at our press conference at the legislature. Clean Air Carolina honored Dr. Parr for his educational and advocacy work with an Airkeeper Award in December, 2012.
Dr. Kimberly Price, PhD, MCHES
Dr. Price serves as an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Lenoir-Rhyne University. An expert in health promotion and community health, she has devoted her career to reducing health disparities among disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. She earned her master’s degree from Columbia University and her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, where her research focused on understanding how social and spiritual connections influence health behaviors. With a passion for health and wellness, she coordinated health education programs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the New Jersey War-Related Illness and Injury Center. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for MountainTrue, a Clean Air Carolina partner organization working to preserve the Western North Carolina ecosystem.