Reflections on Three Decades
of Better Housing, Better Health

As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, NCHH is collecting video messages from a variety of individuals including current and past partners, current and past board members, key stakeholders (such as funders, government partners, impacted individuals), and current and past staff members. We have so much to be proud of, and we truly believe that our personal connections with people across the years have been a fundamental part of our story and success. We’ll share these video clips on social media and our website, both individually and potentially as part of a larger video project looking back on our first 30 years and looking forward to our next 30.

Our Latest Reflection

August 27: Our latest “Reflection” comes from Christopher Jones, PhD, past NCHH board member and previous board president. Formerly a principal at BCT Partners, Dr. Jones was the lead executive on numerous multimillion-dollar federal projects. As executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in Boston, Massachusetts, he secured more than $6 million in funds for the organization and supported a community of active and engaged residents. As assistant dean for graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he led efforts that doubled minority enrollment and more than tripled minority applications to MIT graduate programs. Dr. Jones’ academic research ranges from plasma fusion and nuclear nonproliferation to the social impact of large-scale energy infrastructure systems.

Dr. Jones holds five degrees, including a BSes in mathematics and physics from Morehouse College, where he received a full scholarship from NASA and served as student body president; an MS in nuclear engineering and an MS in technology and policy from MIT, and a PhD in urban studies and planning from MIT.

Past Reflections

August 13: This “Reflection” comes from our longtime friend and ally, the great Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester. Dr. Korfmacher’s primary focus is addressing environmental health information and policy needs of the communities in and around Rochester. She participates in many local partnerships relating to environmental health including the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, the Rochester Healthy Homes Partnership, the Water Education Collaborative, and the Pollution Prevention Institute. As a policy scientist, much of Dr. Korfmacher’s research has addressed the role of science in the policy process and focused on the role of community groups in the policy process, particularly on how these groups generate, access, and use information. Dr. Korfmacher’s book, Bridging Silos: Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities, is available from MIT Press.

August 6: This “Reflection” comes from one of our newest board members, Will Yang, who’s a design lead in the department of Enterprise Measurement and Design for the Veterans Experience Office at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While he appreciates all that NCHH has accomplished since 1992, Will is even more excited about what the future holds for NCHH.

July 16: This “Reflection” comes courtesy of our very own David Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs is the chief scientist at the National Center for Healthy Housing. He also serves as director of the U.S. Collaborating Center for Research and Training on Housing Related Disease and Injury for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO WHO), an adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and as a faculty associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He’s one of the nation’s foremost authorities on childhood lead poisoning prevention and was principal author of both the President’s Task Force Report on the subject in 2000 and the Healthy Homes Report to Congress in 1999. Dr. Jacobs is the former director of the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was responsible for program evaluations, grants, contracts, public education, enforcement, regulation, and policy related to lead and healthy homes.

June 25: This Reflection video features Desiree de la Torre, who serves on NCHH’s board of directors. la Torre is the Director of Community Affairs and Population Health Improvement for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, where she leads the organization’s community health improvement strategic planning process, including partnerships with community organizations, resources to address health disparities, and compliance with federal and local community benefit regulations.

Past Reflections

June 4: Reflectiing today is Rebecca Morley, MSPP, a proven leader and manager with over 20 years of experience in the government, private, and nonprofit sectors. Ms. Morley served as the executive director for the National Center for Healthy Housing from 2002 to 2014 and recently joined NCHH’s emeritus board. She is also the past director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Health Impact Project and now operates Rebecca Morley Consulting.

May 14: This Reflection video features Chief Operating Officer Michelle Harvey, who joined NCHH in December 2008. At NCHH, Ms. Harvey oversees human resources, communications, operations, and IT management. An accomplished professional with over 20 years of experience in operations, human resource development, and employee relations, Ms. Harvey’s duties include partnering with members of senior management to guide corporate business objectives, workforce planning, and communications across the organization. Her strengths include innovation, leadership, change management, organizational development, and capacity building.

April 23: For this Reflection, we share a statement from Kerry Wyss, director of environmental health at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

April 2: Just in time for National Public Health Week, this “Reflections” video features Georges Benjamin, MD, director of the American Public Health Association (APHA). One of the nation’s most influential physician leaders, Dr. Benjamin has served as APHA’s executive director since 2002. Prior to APHA, he worked as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. NCHH and APHA have collaborated on several important initiatives over the years, including the National Healthy Housing Standard.

March 12: Our March 12 “Reflections” video features Anne Kelsey Lamb, director of Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP). RAMP’s mission is “to reduce the burden of asthma with a focus on health equity.” Emphasizing both prevention and management, RAMP builds capacity, creates linkages, and mobilizes networks to advocate for policy and systems change targeting the root causes of asthma disparities. Check out Unlocking the Power of Home-Based Asthma Services: Model Health Benefit Packages, a collaboration between RAMP and NCHH.

February 26: Our February 26 “Reflections” video features summer 2021 intern Alice Lu. Alice is an MPH student at Yale School of Public Health’s Environmental Health Sciences Department. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human biology and society with a concentration in medicine and public health as well as a Bachelor of Arts in sociology.

February 12: In this video, Erin Guay, former executive director of Healthy Androscoggin and a past mini-grant recipient, comments on NCHH’s expertise and collaboration with local organizations.

January 21: Paul Haan, lead specialist for the City of Grand Rapids and former executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan recalls his experiences working with NCHH for nearly 20 years.

December 18: In our final video of 2022, we hear from Dr. Patrick Breysse, who directs the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Breysse reflects on NCHH’s impact on research, policy, and practice at the intersection of health and housing.

December 4: In our December 4 “Reflections” video, Hester Paul—national director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care program for our longtime partners, the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN)—looks forward to the next two years of collaboration with NCHH on the Lead-Safe Toolkit and related projects.

November 20: In this “Reflections” video, we hear from Dr. Robert Blaine, senior executive and director of the Institute for Youth, Education and Families at the National League of Cities (NLC). In his video, Dr. Blaine compares NCHH’s and NLC’s complementary missions and visions, which are key factors in the longtime partnership between the two organizations.

November 6: This “Reflections” video stars Tom Neltner, who is the senior director of safer chemicals for the Environmental Defense Fund‘s “Healthy Communities” program. He was also the founding executive director of Improving Kids Environments, an Indiana-based coalition that is still active to this day, as well as NCHH’s director of education from 2005 to 2010. In his video, Tom recalls his own 25 years of working with and for NCHH.

October 23: This “Reflections” video features Don Ryan, the former executive director for the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (later known as the Alliance for Healthy Homes). Don was instrumental in the founding of the National Center for Healthy Housing in 1992 and served on NCHH’s board for many years. Today, Don serves as the director of partnerships for Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church. In his video, Don recalls a noteworthy Senate appropriations meeting with NCHH’s founding executive director, Nick Farr.

October 2: This “Reflections” video features Ava Lopez, who worked as a summer policy intern for NCHH in 2021. Today, Ava is a business development analyst with Public Works Partners, a New York-based certified planning and consulting firm. In her video, Ava talks about the passionate team she worked with at NCHH.

September 18: This “Reflections” video features Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Women for a Healthy Environment. In her video, Michelle discusses NCHH’s role as a trusted partner and supporter.

September 4: To kick off our celebrations, let’s hear from Dr. Tom Vernon, former chair of NCHH’s Board of Directors, and our longtime partner Larry Brooks, director of California’s Alameda County Healthy Homes Department.


Let’s See Your Video!

Would you like to send us a video message? We’d love to hear from you! We’ll be collecting and highlighting received messages on a rolling basis from now through September 4, 2023. There are some helpful tips on creating a great video message below. To submit a video or ask any questions, contact Laura Fudala ( or Sarah Goodwin (

To follow the rest of our 30th anniversary celebration, visit the NCHH30 landing page.

Thank you for helping make NCHH’s first 30 years a success! We couldn’t imagine celebrating without you.

Questions to Consider in Crafting Your Message to NCHH

You don’t have to answer all of these (and certainly not in this order), but here are some sample questions to think about in crafting a message to NCHH. Pro-tip: Don’t read the questions out loud during your video.

  • Choose three words to describe NCHH and explain why.
  • What has healthy homes and/or the National Center for Healthy Housing meant for you or your organization?
  • Why does the world need the National Center for Healthy Housing?
  • Why is healthy homes (and the work of NCHH) important?
  • How do you know about the National Center for Healthy Housing? When did you first know that NCHH was an organization you wanted to be a part of or partner with?
  • Tell a funny or compelling story (or two) about NCHH and/or staff or board members.
  • Tell us about a time or a moment when you were really proud to be affiliated with NCHH or about an achievement you thought was particularly significant.
  • Wish NCHH a happy 30th anniversary!  

Cameras and File Types

You don’t have to use a professional camera. Most smartphone cameras will do a fine job as long as the lighting is adequate. Be sure to save your file in a standard file type (like .mp4) and follow the other tips below for creating a great video message.

Tips for Making a Great Video

Think about the background of your video. If you’re trying to send a professional message, consider using an office setting. For a more personal touch, consider a living room at home. Either way, make sure the background isn’t too cluttered or distracting and that nothing weird is happening (like a plant behind you looking like it’s growing out of your head).

  • Minimize other background noises if possible.
  • Have someone else hold the camera or use a tripod.
  • You don’t need professional lighting, but make sure there’s enough light and that your face isn’t cloaked in shadows. (The more light in the room, generally the better the result, especially if there’s a light source behind your camera.)
  • Find a camera angle that’s flattering. Test it first.
  • Speak clearly.


Latest page update: June 25, 2023.