Burnley Truax, MPH, BA

University of Michigan School of Public Health
Environmental Health Sciences

Burnley Truax is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health with a focus in Environmental Health Sciences. As a graduate student, Burnley contributed to research on gene-environment interactions by studying the impact of in-utero methadone exposure on neonatal withdrawal symptoms using epigenetic techniques. Burnley also worked on a statewide cancer cohort study that surveys participants cumulative exposures with the aim to understand the interaction of different environmental exposures on one’s risk of developing cancer.

Burnley was introduced to Public Health through her work in environmental conservation. While monitoring red tide toxic algal blooms, she learned about the neurological health impacts of eating contaminated shellfish. While surveying invasive reef fish populations, she met SCUBA diving guides who experience the negative impacts of repetitive deep diving. While restoring native habitat, she questioned what the lasting health effects would be of frequent pesticide spraying. By asking these questions, Burnley entered Public Health.

As an ASPPH/EPA Environmental Health Fellow, Burnley is excited to think creatively, collaboratively, and constructively about the ways to reduce harmful exposures within communities that are disproportionately burdened. Burnley is excited to learn more about the internal mechanisms of the government and hopes to establish a more comprehensive understanding for how the EPA works to protect the lives of people and the environment.

In EPA’s OEJECR team, Burnley will integrate social equity into chemical risk assessment throughout programs and regulations, including pesticide regulations. Burnley will help translate EJ guidelines to other offices within the EPA, such as preparing an annual workshop.