10 September 2019

1993 YSSPer Katrina Smith Korfmacher

"Bridging Silos: Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities" is a recent publication by 1993 YSSPer Katrina Smith Korfmacher. She is currently Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester. Read more about the importance of this work and how the YSSP impacted her career.

© Katrina Korfmacher

© Katrina Korfmacher

Katrina Smith Korfmacher's recent publication Bridging Silos: Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities addresses how communities can collaborate across systems and sectors to address environmental health disparities.  

"Despite increasing recognition that the environment has significant impacts on human health, we lack effective systems for addressing these challenges. This book argues that the separation of environmental and health by different management institutions has contributed to the health disparities facing socially disadvantaged communities.

I called it “Bridging Silos” because the image of “silos” is widely used to represent barriers between policy sectors, and the theme of the book is how to build “bridges” between environmental and public health management to better protect communities. It builds on lessons learned from three diverse U.S. case studies of local collaborations that worked to address underlying drivers of environmental justice problems like hazardous housing, unhealthy built environments, and localized air pollution problems.

I wrote this book to help community leaders, professionals, and students in environmental management, public health, planning, and urban studies learn from these innovative local efforts and reflect on how to adapt their own work to better address similar challenges. The book is based on U.S. urban experiences, but many of the insights may be translated to surburban/rural settings as well as international contexts. To make the book more widely available to community audiences, it is available for order or free download thanks to The MIT Press Open Access initiative."

And on how the YSSP impacted her career, she stated in a 2016 interview that:

"Even though I do local work, getting a perspective while I was here during the YSSP on how local policy is different given different national policy frameworks, was really helpful. It enriched my view of local policy problems in the United States by trying to think about the same issues in a different context. So for example, when I was here we were looking at issues of fairness and ethics in considering water quality governance for the Nitra soon after the fall of the iron curtain with lots of changes and reductions in pollution, because industry had gone down, while considering the future of water governance and what would be in place. It freed me up to think about our system in a comparative perspective even though they’re local issues. That’s been most useful to me in my teaching but also in local policy work: to think this is the system we are working within but it’s not a given - it could be different. That can feed into creating ideas."

The YSSP also continues to impact other aspects of her life. "My boys have visited the homes of and made friends with the sons of my IIASA colleagues, Anu Kettunen and Sake de Vlas. Wouldn't it be fun if some of them turned into second-gen YSSPers?"

About Katrina Smith Korfmacher

Katrina Smith Korfmacher is an Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester, and she also directs the Community Outreach and Engagement Core of U. Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Center. As a policy scientist, her research addresses the role of both science and community groups in the policy process, and she is particularly interested in how groups generate, access, and use information. 

In 1993, she participated in the IIASA Risk Analysis and Policy Project as a YSSPer under JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer. During the summer, she developed a taxonomy of fairness concepts, showed how these concepts are reflected in water quality issues through domestic and international law, and demonstrated how they are usefully applied to the case study of the Nitra Basin.

Print this page

Last edited: 09 September 2019


Monika Bauer

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer Communications and External Relations Department

IIASA Network and Alumni Officer Communications - Communications and External Relations Department

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313