Be Heard Seminar Series

About Us

Be Heard: An Environmental Health and Climate Science Communication Series hosted by USC will demystify the process of writing, speaking about, and communicating scientific findings. The goal of the series is to empower individuals and communities to be louder, reach a larger audience, and communicate responsibly, inspiring better public policy, individual action, and promoting a greater understanding of science that can improve public health. The series is focused on children’s environmental health research. 

The series features panels of specialists from the world of public health, journalism, public policy, science communication, advocacy, the law, and academia. Each panel includes a keynote speaker, USC moderator, and community or environmental justice perspective. The audience for the seminar series is students, graduate trainees, university faculty, and community members and advocates.


Upcoming Events

Our Speakers

Past Webinars

BE HEARD: Working with lawyers- Torts

Friday, April 12, 2024  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA

  • In this webinar, the discussion covers the importance of lawyers and experts in toxic tort cases, using an example of asbestos exposure resulting in illness. 
  •  Dr. Markowitz discusses the importance of clarity and definitiveness in scientific conclusions, particularly in tort litigation. He emphasizes the role of experts in explaining complex scientific concepts to the jury and touches upon the limitations and issues with relying on peer-reviewed articles for risk assessment. They argue for the need for better communication and collaboration between lawyers, public health professionals, and medical experts. 

BE HEARD: Advocacy and Community Partnerships: Drinking water and PFAS Monitoring

Friday, March 8, 2024  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Max Aung, PhD

  • In this webinar Anna Reade from NRDC and Eric Orellanana from CWC discuss their collaboration and how scientists can contribute to community concerns and needs. They highlight the importance of knowledge sharing and addressing data gaps in monitoring drinking water contamination.
  • Collaboration between NRDC and CWC: The partnership between NRDC and CWC has been instrumental in addressing drinking water contamination. They work together to share knowledge, address data gaps, and advocate for clean and safe drinking water.

BE HEARD: Writing a White Paper

Friday, Feb 9, 2024  10.00AM PST
Moderated by John Balmes, MD

  • Experts Meghan Rebuli and Vince Tedjasaputra explore the importance of writing white papers to increase the impact of scientific research and provide useful insights. They share that  collaborating on white papers can create networking opportunities and lead to future collaborations among researchers.
  • They express that translating research into accessible formats and being a cultural translator is essential for scientists to be heard and make a societal impact.

BE HEARD: Writing a Commentary

Friday, Dec 15, 2023  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Carly Hyland, PhD, MS

  • Experts Dr. David Gonzalez and Dr. Bavna Shamasunder discuss their work in Environmental Health and Justice, focusing on topics such as oil and gas development and consumer product exposures in communities of color. They emphasize the importance of translating research for broader understanding and engaging with communities through various forms of public communication.

  • Both experts emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary approaches in their work. By collaborating with researchers from various disciplines and community organizations, they are able to tackle complex environmental justice issues and find holistic solutions.

BE HEARD: Creating an Op-Ed

Friday, Dec 8, 2023  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Gabriel Kahn

  • In this webinar, moderated by Gabe Kahn, Manuel Pastor from the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI) and Bill Gallegos from the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy (CEED) discuss the collaboration and trust between academia and frontline communities are essential for successful op-ed writing and research translation.

  • Op-eds are a powerful tool for researchers to make their work accessible to a wider audience and influence policy change.

BE HEARD: Working With Policy Makers

Friday, Aug 4, 2023  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Colin Maclay

  • In this webinar, moderated by Colin Maclay, Ellu Nasser from the Climate and Health Environmental Defense Fund and Adrian Martinez from Earth Justice discuss the significance of ports as decarbonization hubs and air, noise, and light pollution sources.

  • Nasser and Martinez also talk about strategies that communities can advocate for where to allocate funds to serve the public and push for sustainability. The pair highlights the way communities and advocates have given ports the resources to drive sustainable changes and how they can continue to hold ports accountable for their impact on community health and wellbeing. 

BE HEARD: Working With Communities

Friday, Apr 28, 2023  10.00AM PST
Moderated by Sylvia Betancourt

  • In a conversation moderated by Sylvia Betancourt, Mark Lopez and Nse Witherspoon discuss how researchers and community groups have built strong, trusting partnerships over time.
  • Through examples of their work at East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Lopez and Witherspoon share about the importance of representation in teams working with marginalized communities, making decisions based on the lived experience of those impacted, giving communities equitable leadership and credit in research, communicating with the media, and patience and trust when enacting change.