2015 Shale & Public Health Conference

The 2015 Conference took place on November 18, 2015.

The conference was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences and hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

View Conference Presentation Videos

Program Overview:

This conference features new research on shale and public health presented by local and national experts, and a special break-out session on addressing shale health issues in one’s practice.

Learning Objectives:

  • Those attending will become more familiar with the stages and processes of shale gas operations, and increase their knowledge of the potential health impacts, from seeing the research presented by local and national experts.
  • Those attending will increase their awareness of and ability to identify symptoms of possible exposure to toxins associated with unconventional natural gas development and the types of toxins apt to be involved.
  • Attendees will leave with greater capacity to develop and carry out symptom assessment and treatment protocols based on the information they have learned from the presentations, case study discussion, and “medical toolbox” materials.

Target Audience:

Physicians who may see patients who live, work or go to school near shale gas operations, particularly GP/Internist/Family medicine, pediatricians, OB-GYN, neonatologists, and also dermatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, ENT; Medical toxicologists, FNP, school nurses, other health professionals, researchers, audiologists; and interested public.

Faculty Listing:

Susan Carty BA President of League of Women Voters of PA (Harrisburg PA)

Karen Hacker MD MPH Director, Allegheny County Health Dept. (Pittsburgh PA)

Bruce Pitt PhD (Course Director) Professor & Chair, Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (Pittsburgh PA)

Wilma Subra MS President Subra Company, Chemist and Microbiologist, Chair of STRONGER Pennsylvania Air Quality Regulations Review Committee, served on many EPA committees and MacArthur Fellow (New Iberia, Louisiana)

Jill Kriesky PhD Associate Director, SWPA-Environmental Health Project (McMurray PA)

Brian Schwartz MD MS Professor and Associate Chair, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine (Baltimore MD) and Senior Investigator, Geisinger Center for Health Research (Danville PA)

Cynthia Richburg PhD CCC-A FAAA Professor and Clinician, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana PA)

Bernard Goldstein MD (Course Director) Professor Emeritus Environmental and Occupational Health, former Dean University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (Pittsburgh PA) Visiting Professor University of Cologne (Cologne, Germany)

Ned Ketyer MD FAAP pediatrician at the Pediatric Alliance (Bridgeville, PA)

Lenore Resick PhD CRNP FNP-BC FAANP FAAN Professor Emerita, Duquesne University School of Nursing (Pittsburgh PA) Family Nurse Practitioner, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (McMurray PA)

Faculty Bios

SUSAN CARTY (Welcome) was elected President of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania in June 2013. She is also president of the LWV Chester County, previously serving as LWVCC’s education committee chair. She joined the League in 2009.

Ms. Carty has been an insurance underwriter for Prudential. She was also a science teacher in the West Chester Area school district, and a NOAA Teacher-at-Sea in the Pacific. She was the co-author of a science lab instruction manual for Pfizer Corporation. She holds a B.A. from Immaculata College.

Her public service includes serving on the WCASD School Board (2006-2009), as Chair of the East Goshen Township Planning Commission (2002-present) and on the Chester County Regional Planning Commission (2005-2007).


(speaking on shale and health policies and practices in Germany and the EU as compared with the US)

Dr. Goldstein is former Dean and Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. He is a physician, board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and in Toxicology. He has authored over 150 publications in the peer-reviewed literature, as well as numerous reviews related to environmental health. Dr. Goldstein is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Cologne comparing US and EU shale gas policies. He is an elected member of the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine (IOM), and has chaired over a dozen IOM or National Research Council Committees. His past experience includes service as Assistant Administrator for Research and Development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1983-1985, and President of the Society for Risk Analysis. On shale gas issues he has published on scientific and policy aspects; served on both the US National Research Council and Canadian Council of Academies shale gas committees; and has chaired a working group of the Society of Toxicology.      

KAREN HACKER MD MPH (presenting data from the ACHD)

Dr. Karen Hacker has served as Director of the Allegheny County Health Department since her appointment by the Allegheny County Board of Health in Fall 2013. As Director, Dr. Hacker is the highest ranking official in the Health Department and is responsible for overseeing its programs and activities. She also serves as Secretary to the Allegheny County Board of Health.

Prior to her appointment here, Dr. Hacker was Executive Director of the Institute for Community Health, a community research organization within the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). She also served as an Associate Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health, and was the Senior Medical Director for Public and Community Health at CHA.

Dr. Hacker received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, her MD from Northwestern University and her MPH from Boston University. She has extensive experience working with diverse populations as a public health leader, health care administrator, primary care physician and community based participatory researcher.

Throughout her career, Dr. Hacker has worked with community partners to catalyze change in both practice and research environments. She previously served as interim Chief Public Officer for the City of Cambridge and the Division Director for Child and Adolescent Health at the Boston Public Health Commission. Dr Hacker’s research has been responsive to community needs, with interests focused on adolescent risk and resiliency, child mental health and the social determinants of immigrant health. She has led efforts to incorporate behavioral health screening into pediatric primary care and worked with communities on issues of substance abuse and overdose prevention and youth suicide. More recently, she has been involved in the evaluation of the transformation of safety net institutions into accountable care organizations.

NED KETYER MD FAAP (leading break-out workshop on addressing shale health issues in practice)

Dr. Ned Ketyer is a pediatrician practicing in Washington County, PA. Dr. Ketyer has special interests in developmental pediatrics and preventative medicine, specifically how nutrition and the environment affect health. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. He completed his residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

As one of the founding physicians of Pediatric Alliance, PC, Dr. Ketyer served as its president from 1997-2004. He has been practicing general pediatrics at Pediatric Alliance since 1990. A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health, Dr. Ketyer is a pediatric medical consultant to the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project.

JILL KRIESKY PhD (speaking about the establishment of a health registry)

Dr. Jill Kriesky is the Associate Director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. She received her MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her PhD in Economics from the University of New Hampshire.  She has spent more than twenty years in university-based community outreach on issues including labor relations, economic development and community health issues.  As the director of West Virginia Campus Compact, the West Virginia University Office of Service Learning Programs, and Wheeling Jesuit University’s Service for Social Action Center and Clifford M. Lewis, SJ, Appalachian Institute, Kriesky developed and managed a series of community/academic partnerships with community-based organizations in West Virginia.  In her most recent position at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, Kriesky’s outreach and collaboration efforts focused on the potential health impacts of natural gas extraction.

BRUCE R. PITT PhD (presenting recently published research on birth impacts)

Dr. Bruce Pitt is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, he is Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology (School of Medicine) and Bioengineering. He holds a BA from Brown University and a PhD in Environmental Physiology from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Pitt’s research focuses on the molecular pharmacology and toxicology of the lung and has been continuously supported by National Institutes of Health for over 30 years including a Method to Extended Research in Time (MERIT) award. He was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. He was Chairman of NIH Lung Biology Pathology Study Section and California Tobacco-Related Pulmonary Disease Study Sections and served on NIH Heart Lung Blood Institutes Program Project Review and Mentored Clinician Scientist Review committees. He was a member of Scientific Advisory Board for iNO Therapeutics and Parker Francis Foundation and currently is on Gilead Pharmaceuticals Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension advisory board. He was Chairman of the Respiratory section of American Physiological Society and Chairman of Pulmonary Circulation and Respiratory Molecular Cell Biology sections of the American Thoracic Society. In addition, he led a recent Heinz Endowment supported study on perinatal outcomes in Southwestern Pennsylvania and Marcellus Shale.

LENORE K. RESICK PhD CRNP FNP-BC FAANP FAAN (workshop on addressing shale health issues in practice)

Dr. Lenore (Leni)  K. Resick is Family Nurse Practitioner for Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. A native of Southwestern Pennsylvania, she received her Diploma from Presbyterian University Hospital School of Nursing, her bachelors and masters degrees in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh, and her post masters certificate in Transcultural Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Duquesne University. Before joining the EHP, she held the position of  Clinical Professor; Noble J. Dick Endowed Chair in Community Outreach; Executive Director, Community-Based Health & Wellness Center for Older Adults and Director Family Nurse Program at Duquesne University School of Nursing. She has over forty years of clinical experience as a nurse and over twenty-seven years of clinical experience as a family nurse practitioner in a variety of settings including occupational health and community-based care focused on disease prevention, health promotion, wellness and self-care management. She has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to nurse-led community-based wellness centers. Her research interests include stress, health and wellness and the meaning of health among vulnerable populations.

Dr. Resick is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nursing. At the state level, she received the Distinguished Nurse Award by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA). In 2015 she was appointed Professor Emerita, Duquesne University School of Nursing.

CYNTHIA M. RICHBURG PhD CCC-A FAAA (speaking on her research on hearing loss and health issues near fracking sites)

Prior to returning to the University of Tennessee for her doctoral training in 1994, Cynthia McCormick Richburg worked in a variety of clinical audiology settings (private practice office, ENT office, and non-profit speech and hearing center) in Upper East Tennessee. After obtaining her PhD in Speech and Hearing Science from UTK in 1998, Dr. Richburg settled into the world of academia. She has been on faculty at the University of Utah, the State University of New York – New Paltz, Missouri State University, and is currently completing her ninth year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is a tenured professor in the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Program in the Department of Communication Disorders, Special Education, and Disability Services. Dr. Richburg has 14 peer-reviewed articles, 3 book chapters, and 47 international and national presentations. She is co-author of two text books, School-Based Audiology (Plural Publishing) and Children with Audiological Needs: From Identification to Rehabilitation (Butte Publishing). She was the 2009 -2011 editor for the Journal of Educational Audiology, and has served five years as an associate editor for the journal. She continues to teach, see clients in the IUP audiology clinic, and present on the topics of classroom acoustics, central auditory processing disorder, and public health effects caused by noise at state and national conferences. Dr. Richburg’s interests in the health effects from “fracking” noise were sparked by comments from her husband (an environmental scientist and limnologist) and her presentations on the effects of noisy listening environments in school-age children, with and without hearing loss.

BRIAN S. SCHWARTZ MD MS (presenting Geisinger studies)

Dr. Schwartz is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he is Associate Chair of the Department. He is jointly appointed in the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and in the Department of Medicine in the School of Medicine. He is also a Senior Investigator in the Geisinger Center for Health Research in Danville, PA. He served as director of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Health from 1996 to 2006 and as director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency from 1993 to 1998. He is currently co-director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health and director of the Geisinger Environmental Health Institute. Dr. Schwartz received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Tufts University; an M.D. degree from Northwestern University Medical School; and an M.S. degree in clinical epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and then was a Mellon Foundation Scholar in Clinical Epidemiology and a fellow in General Medicine at the same institution. He completed a fellowship in occupational and environmental medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, then joined the faculty there as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Schwartz’s research uses epidemiologic methods to evaluate the public health impacts of occupational and environmental exposures. He has studied the health effects of a variety of chemical and metal toxicants in several large-scale, longitudinal studies. More recently, he has been evaluating the public health implications of energy use, land use, food systems, the built environment, and related sustainability issues. He helped found the Geisinger Environmental Health Institute in 2007 in the Geisinger Center for Health Research. The Institute is engaged in a number of environmental epidemiology studies using electronic health record data from the health system on over 400,000 primary care and over 1,000,000 specialty care patients. Ongoing studies include those of animal feeding operations and risk of antimicrobial-resistant infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA]); the food, physical activity, land use, and social environments and body mass index in children; the built environment and the burden of abandoned coal mine lands and their associations with type 2 diabetes outcomes; and the public health considerations of unconventional natural gas development (Marcellus shale).

WILMA SUBRA, MS (presenting on ethane crackers, the Louisiana experience, and shale environmental and public health impacts and strategies)

Wilma Subra is president of Subra Company and has provided technical assistance to citizens concerned with their environment and human health, and to agencies, across the United States and in some foreign countries,  by combining technical research and evaluation. She has a BS and MS in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (University of Louisiana at Lafayette).  Ms. Subra previously was Acting Manager in the Department of Analytical Biochemistry, and Chemist for the National Cancer Institute subcontract, and microbiologist and biostatistician, at the Gulf South Research Institute. She has over 48 years of experience in sampling and chemical and microbiologic analysis of ground water, surface water resources, air and waste, monitoring the environmental impacts of oil and gas drilling and production activities, oil and gas waste treatment and disposal practices and associated human health impacts.
Ms. Subra’s current work is focused on the environmental impacts of various aspects of shale development, the human  health impacts associated with various specific units and activities of shale development, the development of appropriate parameters for monitoring ground water and surface water resources to detect impacts of shale development, and the development of guidelines for the regulation of state programs  dealing with shale development through the STRONGER process (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations Board). 

Her work includes serving on emergency review teams and environmental agency reviews at the local, state (Louisiana and also Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania) and federal levels, examining oil and gas waste, injection wells, air, water, and other issues. She has  completed a seven year term as Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a five year term on the National Advisory Committee of the U. S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and a six year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) where she served as a member of the Cumulative Risk and Impacts Working Group of the NEJAC Council, and chaired the NEJAC Gulf Coast Hurricanes Work Group.  In 2011, she chaired the Environmental Protection Agency Technical Workshop for the Hydraulic Fracturing Study on Chemical and Analytical Methods.  She participated in the EPA Shale Technical Roundtables on Water Acquisition, Chemical Mixing, and Well Injection in November 2012.  She co-chaired the EPA  Shale Analytical Chemical Methods Workshop in February 2013.  She currently serves as chair of the STRONGER Air Guidelines Work Group, which will be reviewing Pennsylvania’s air quality regulations.

Ms. Subra received the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Award from the MacArthur Foundation in 1999 for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues in their communities.  She also received the 2011 Domestic Human Rights Award from the Global Exchange for her dedication to human rights issues.

Program Schedule

Wednesday November 18

8:30 a.m.         Registration Sign In    

Ballroom B

9 a.m. Welcome                    Susan Carty President of League of Women Voters of PA

9:20     Karen Hacker MD MPH Director, Allegheny County Health Department

                                                Welcome and New Research

9:50                                         Welcome from Pitt Public HealthDr. Bruce Pitt

10 a.m. Bruce Pitt PhD Professor & Chair, Environmental and Occupational Health, Pitt Graduate School of Public Health – Perinatal Outcomes and Unconventional Natural Gas Development (UNGD) in Southwest Pennsylvania

10:50 Break

11 a.m. Wilma Subra MS President Subra Company, Chemist and Microbiologist, Chair of STRONGER Pennsylvania Air Quality Regulations Review Committee, served on many EPA committees and MacArthur Fellow – Ethane crackers, the Louisiana experience, shale and public health issues

11:50 Break

Noon   Luncheon Speaker- Jill Kriesky PhD, Associate Director, SWPA-Environmental Health Project – Establishing Pennsylvania’s Health Registry

1 p.m.  Brian Schwartz MD Professor and Associate Chair, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine and Senior Investigator, Geisinger Center for Health Research – Public health considerations of Marcellus UNGD, new Geisinger research

2 p.m. Cynthia Richburg PhD CCC-A, FAAA Professor and Clinician, Indiana University of Pennsylvania – Research on hearing loss and health effects near shale gas development sites

2:50 Break

3 p.m.  Bernard Goldstein MD Professor Emeritus and former Dean, Pitt Graduate School of Public Health – Shale Health Policy and Practices in Germany, the EU, the US

3:50 Break

4 p.m.  CME/CE Session for Practitioners in the Gold Room – Addressing Shale Health Issues in Practice – Ned Ketyer, MD FAAP, pediatrician; Lenore Resick, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN Family Nurse Practitioner, Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project

5 p.m. Exhibits (Fill out evaluations for credits and sign out)

5:30 Conclusion

CME Accreditation and Designation:

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 7.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Other health care professionals are awarded 0.7 continuing education units (CEU’s) which are equal to 7.2 contact hours.

The American with Disabilities Act information:

Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by calling 1-800-61-SHALE or emailing shalemarcella@gmail.com .

Faculty Disclosure:

All individuals in a position to control the content of this education activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any proprietary entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients.

Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action: The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.