Steering Committee

The steering committee helps guide the direction of nature and health particularly focusing on research.

Gregory Bratman

Greg Bratman

    • Assistant Professor
  • Greg’s work takes place at the nexus of psychology, public health, and ecology and is focused on investigating the ways in which the environment is associated with human well-being. He is also working to inform the ways that the mental health effects of nature can be incorporated into ecosystem service studies and in efforts to address health inequities.

  • Greg's website
Peter Kahn

Peter Kahn

    Psychologist Peter Kahn is the Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems (HINTS) Lab at the UW, where he explores two trends that are reshaping human existence. One is the rapid degradation of the natural world. The other is the speed of technological development, both in terms of its computational sophistication and pervasiveness. Peter and his team look at how interaction with nature benefits people physically and psychologically, the psychological effects of technologies that simulate, mediate, or argument nature, and using deep and meaningful interaction with nature to revision and contribute to urban sustainability.

  • Peter's website
Josh Lawler

Josh Lawler

    • Professor, Environmental and Forest Sciences
    • Director, Nature and Health Program
  • Josh is an ecologist driven by applied conservation questions and their real-world applications, with a focus on climate change and land-use change. His work explores how climate change affects animals and plants as well as the ways that human health, climate, and the environment are connected.

  • Josh's website

Carolyn Parsey

    Carolyn Parsey, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist at UW Medicine’s Memory and Brain Wellness Center at Harborview and an assistant professor of Neurology at UW. Her interdisciplinary research includes development of assistive technologies to help patients with memory difficulties remain engaged mentally and physically. She is interested in how technology can improve access to nature for those who have cognitive or behavioral symptoms. Her latest research pursuits include virtual reality nature experiences for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, as well as their care partners.

  • Carolyn's website

Usha Varanasi

    Usha Varanasi was the science and research director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center from 1994-2010, where she was the first woman to lead a fisheries field office. She also served from 2004-2010 as the director of NOAA’s Westcoast Center of Excellence for Ocean and Human Health which was dedicated to studying and informing policymakers how the degradation of oceans and aquatic ecosystems can affect the health and well-being of people. Currently, as the College of the Environment Distinguished Scholar in Residence, she is interested in the projects on the boundary of science and policy that define and encourage positive engagement of people with nature.

  • Usha's website

Spencer Wood

    Spencer is a senior research scientist with EarthLab in the UW College of the Environment, where he studies the ways that people interact with and benefit from nature. Recently he has been researching outdoor recreation, using empirical and mathematical approaches to model the distributions, behaviors, and preferences of park visitors.

  • Spencer's website
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