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.
Take Action: Urge Governor Cooper to Protect Public Health by Revoking Enviva Pellets, LLC Flawed Air Quality Permit
MAHA is sending a letter to Governor Roy Cooper asking him to protect the health of Richmond County residents by revoking Air Quality Permit No. 10365R02 from the wood pellet facility that is proposed to be built in Hamlet, North Carolina by Enviva Pellets Hamlet, LLC. The letter outlines the health and environmental issues Richmond County residents already face that would be exacerbated by the Enviva facility. We ask health professionals to join us in protecting the health of Richmond County residents by signing our letter. Thank you in advance for taking this important action.
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 policy makers.
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 legislators 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.
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 and 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.
Theresa Langston, BSRT, RRT, RCP, AE-C, Ahoskie
Theresa Langston is the founder of the pediatric asthma program at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. She has helped children and families manage asthma since 2012, and previously worked as a clinical Registered Respiratory Therapist. She is a member of the NC Asthma Alliance, the Association of Asthma Educators, the American Association for Respiratory Care and the National Board for Respiratory Care. Theresa graduated from Pitt Community College and UNC Charlotte. She has lived all her life in Winton, N.C., near Ahoskie, and is a member of the Meherrin Nation. When she’s taking time off from caring for children with asthma, Theresa enjoys travelling with her son and husband.
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 as 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.
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. 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.
Jeffrey H. Walden MD, ABFM, Greensboro
Dr. Walden graduated from the West Virginia University School of Medicine in 2010, and completed his residency in Family Medicine at Cone Health Family Medicine Residency in 2013. Following graduation, he joined the Cone Health Family Medicine Residency in a junior faculty position, transitioning to full-time faculty in 2014. He is currently in the process of completing the Faculty Development Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill. He is a recipient of the Institute for International Medicine’s Diploma in International Medicine and Public Health, and is also a member of the Physicians for Human 13 Rights Asylum network, conducting clinical evaluations of persons fleeing persecution in their home countries and seeking political asylum in the United States. His major areas of interest include global health, care of refugee and immigrant populations in the greater Guilford County area and inpatient medicine.
Board Member Emeriti
James Kenny, MD (Ret.), Greenville
Dr. James M. Kenny is a retired pulmonologist. Prior to retiring to NC, he was the Physician Advisor for Inspection and Maintenance of Motor Vehicles for the state of Massachusetts. Dr. Kenny worked on joint public ventures with the Harvard School of Public Health and served as the media spokesperson for the Massachusetts Lung Association and other environmental groups. He has served on the Greenville Environmental Advisory Commission for the past six years. Dr. Kenny was an earlier supporter of retrofitting diesel school buses with filters to protect children’s health and continues to advocate for clean air in Pitt County and around the state.
Terry Taylor, RN (Ret.), Charlotte
Terry Taylor spent over twenty years as an emergency room nurse. She has worked with many patients suffering from serious respiratory problems, many who were victims of environmental toxins. After many years in Asheville, Terry retired to the Charlotte region, and is eager to promote MAHA’s mission of education, knowing first-hand the impact lack of knowledge can have on health.
Lisa Johnson, RRT, RCP, BAS, Greenville
The coordinator of the Pediatric Asthma Program at Vidant Medical Center, Ms. Johnson has been a registered respiratory care practitioner for over 25 years. She found her passion in 1995 when she became part of the asthma program. She has initiated asthma camps (Camp Sea Breathe & Camp Coast) and assisted with the Air Quality Flag Program in several counties. Lisa has also served as co-chair for the NC Asthma Alliance for over six years and has created partnerships across the state to help reduce the burden of asthma. She has one daughter and has lived in Lenoir County with her husband for over 25 years.