Beyond Risk Communication: Community-Based Research, Dialogue, and Policy Engagement to Protect Environmental Health in Yupik Communities of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
Vi Waghiyi, Tribal Member, Native Village of Savoonga, Environmental Health and Justice Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT); and Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Vi Waghiyi is a bilingual Yupik who was born in Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island. Although her family moved to Nome, she grew up in both communities, traveling between Nome and the Island throughout her childhood. Vi was hired in 2002 to work in Anchorage to assist on the St. Lawrence Island environmental health and justice project. She became the Project Coordinator in 2004, which included supervising ACAT’s research staff on St. Lawrence Island. When her work expanded in 2005, Vi’s title was changed to Environmental Justice Community Coordinator. In 2009, she stepped into the position of Program Director to share responsibilities with the executive director for all of ACAT’s efforts. In 2010, Vi was awarded the Environmental Achievement Award in Recognition of Valuable Contributions to Environmental Excellence in Alaska by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. In 2012 leaders of Savoonga presented Vi with a certificate of appreciation “for the dedication and devoted service as an Ambassador of St. Lawrence Island for protecting our health and human rights.” She serves as a National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council member to the National Institute of Health. Vi is sought out repeatedly to speak at national and international meetings about ACAT’s work.
Pamela Miller founded Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) in 1997. Since 2000, ACAT has been awarded multiple federal grants for which Pam has been serving as team leader and, from 2005 through 2016, as Principal Investigator of research teams that include faculty from four universities in Alaska and New York. These research projects rely on collaborative efforts with tribes in Alaska to address environmental health and justice issues. In 2012, she was elected to the Steering Committee for the International POPs Elimination Network in recognition of her work on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Pam is known for her work to prompt state, national, and international chemicals policy reform to protect environmental and human health in the Arctic. She was selected as a fellow for the Reach the Decision Makers program from the University of California San Francisco, Reproductive Health and Environment Program (2011) and to serve as a mentor (2013). In 2012, she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska for her service to the community. In 2013, Pam was invited to serve on the board of directors for the Groundswell Fund. Before coming to Alaska, Pam served as Ocean Issues Technical Coordinator for the State of Washington Department of Ecology, receiving the Washington State Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for protecting the Washington coast by establishing the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. She holds a master’s degree in environmental science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
This webinar was held December 2, 2013, and can be viewed here.
Read more about PROTECT webinars here.