The University of Iowa

2012: Speaker Biographies

2012 Conference | Conference Schedule | Speaker Biographies | Resources

Keynote Speakers

Professor Tracy Bach, JD

Tracy Bach is a Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School.  A member of the VLS faculty for sixteen years, Bach teaches and publishes on climate change, health care and environmental health law, international human rights (especially genocide), and legal analysis and writing.. She has consulted for the Dartmouth Center for Environmental Health Sciences; been selected as an associate of the Vermont Leadership Institute; and visited at the law faculties of the National University of Rwanda, Petrozavodsk State University (Karelia, Russia), the University of Paris 13, and Cheikh Anta Diop University (Dakar, Senegal).  In 2007, VLS appointed Bach Associate Director and Senior Research Fellow of the Climate Legacy Initiative, a grant-funded project that published Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature:  Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice in 2009.  

She received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. and M.A in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota.  Bach interned for the trial and appellate courts of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians and clerked for the Honorable Harriet Lansing of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In 2009-10, Bach was a Fulbright Scholar in Dakar, Senegal.  You can read her blog about climate change and Africa at

Arne Jungjohann, Director with Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation

Arne Jungjohann directs the Environment and Global Dialogue Program of the Washington office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, negotiating internationally toward a just and fair global climate treaty. He is recognized for his work on identifying solutions towards a low carbon economy on both sides of the Atlantic, especially on renewable energy and nuclear power.

Prior to this, Arne worked as a senior advisor for the German Green Party in the Deutscher Bundestag. He has extensive experience on environmental, energy and climate legislation. Among other things, he worked on the implementation of the EU’s cap and trade scheme, Germany’s nuclear phase-out and the Renewable Energy Act.
Arne contributes frequently to public media such as Deutschlandfunk, National Public Radio, The Grist, and Die Klimaretter. He holds a Masters in Political Science of the Free University Berlin.

Visiting Faculty

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam (Dr. Balu)

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam is the Founder of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), a development institution engaged in a grass-roots approach to improvements in sectors such as health, education, and community development. He has over 25 years of experience in organization development and systems change initiatives in public policy in India. He has served as consultant for developing public policies in India and as advisor to World Bank, UNAIDS, and other international organizations. Dr. Balasubramaniam has worked as a special investigator and vigilance director for the Karnataka Lok Ayukta, an anti-corruption agency of the state.

In 2009-2010, he completed his Masters in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. He was a mid-career MC-MPA 2010, a Mason fellow 2009-2010, and a mid-career fellow at the Hauser Center 2009-2010.

Brett Clark, PhD

Brett Clark is assistant professor of sociology and sustainability studies at the University of Utah. His research focuses on the political economy of global environmental change and the philosophy, history, and sociology of science. He is the author of several books, including The Science and Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould (with Richard York), The Ecological Rift (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York), and Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York). He has published articles in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Social Science Research, Theory and Society, Sociological Inquiry, The Sociological Quarterly, Organization & Environment, Population & Environment, Global Environmental Politics, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and other scholarly publications.

Gregory Foster, PhD

Gregory D. Foster is Professor of National Security Studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. During his tenure at the Industrial College, he has served as director of the Environment Industry Study; the China Regional Security Study; the Elements of National Power course; the Values, Ethics, and Leadership program; and the New Faculty Development program. He has been a regular lecturer at the Inter-American Defense College, the Senior Intelligence Course of the Defense Intelligence College, and the National Defense University’s Reserve Component National Security Course. Prior to joining the faculty of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Mr. Foster served as the first director of the National Defense University’s Command and Control Research Program. Before that, he held a number of research management posts in the private sector, including Director of Research and Manager of Washington Operations for the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Director of the Center for Security and Policy Studies, Science Applications, Inc.

A West Point graduate, Mr. Foster holds a doctorate in public administration from The George Washington University. He has held adjunct faculty appointments at The Johns Hopkins University and The American University. He has published widely in the areas of national security affairs, civil-military relations, ethics, public management, and futures research. His publications include The Strategic Dimension of Military Manpower (Ballinger, 1987) and Paradoxes of Power: The Military Establishment in the Eighties (Indiana University Press, 1983).

Alan Lockwood, MD

Alan H. Lockwood, M.D. is an Emeritus Professor of Neurology at the University at Buffalo. He is board certified in Neurology and a member of the American Neurological Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.  He is the author of approximately 220 publications on diverse scientific topics ranging from hepatic encephalopathy, medical problems of musicians to functional imaging of the auditory system, tinnitus and environmental toxicants.  He has been an active member of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) for three decades and was President of PSR National in 1994, is currently a member of the Board and Co-Chair of the Environment and Health Committee. He is the principal author of the PSR report “Coal’s Assault on Human Health” to appear in book form published by MIT Press in September 2012, titled The Silent Epidemic: Coal and the Hidden Threat to Health.

He is a graduate of Cornell University and Cornell University Medical College and was trained in Neurology at the University of California San Francisco.

Arjun Makhijani, Director of  IEER

Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. He is the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007). Dr. Makhijani has testified before Congress, and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CBS 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, and BBC, among others. He has served as a consultant on energy issues to utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Edison Electric Institute, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and several agencies of the United Nations.

In 1989 he received The John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, with Robert Alvarez; was awarded the Josephine Butler Nuclear Free Future Award in 2001 and the Jane Bagley Lehman Award of the Tides Foundation in 2008; and was named a Ploughshares Hero, by the Ploughshares Fund (2006). In 2007, he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Makhijani earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion.

Jeffrey J. Patterson, MD

Dr. Patterson is a professor emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, WI.  With his colleagues, Dr. Patterson has established the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine as one of the premier research centers for prolotherapy.

He has been active in Physicians for Social Responsibility and is past president of National PSR and currently president elect.  PSR is the US affiliate of The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winners of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.  He has traveled extensively in the former USSR and has lectured about the effects of nuclear weapons and radiation there, in Europe, as well as in the US.  Dr. Patterson has visited Chernobyl and sites of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons’ production in the former Soviet Union.  His special interests include the effects of radiation, non-violent alternatives to war as means of preventing war, and sustainable methods of ameliorating climate change.
Dr. Patterson is the medical director of the Hackett Hemwall Foundation (HHF), a charitable foundation doing medical work in Honduras, Mexico, and the Philippines.  The foundation teaches prolotherapy procedures and also supplies clinics in Honduras annually with medical supplies, computers, and school supplies.

Pouné Saberi, MD

Dr. Pouné Saberi is an Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician from the University of Pennsylvania. She also has ten years of clinical experience as a family physician. Her passion is learning and teaching about the effects of environmental factors and toxicology on personal health. She is conducting a study at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology about health perceptions of environmental exposures, in particular unconventional natural gas operations also known as hydraulic fracturing.  As a public health specialist and advocate for clean air and water, she works to bridge the gap between policy and research.

Lisa Skemp, PhD, RN

Lisa Skemp, RN, PhD holds the Sister Agnes Marie Fitzsimons Endowed Chair of Gerontological Nursing at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and adjunct positions at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa and Rush University College of Nursing. Chicago, Illinois.  Her academic role focuses on promoting health and quality of life for community-dwelling elders through research on building community capacity for healthy aging in two areas: 1) ethnographic research on understanding how elders acquire the things they need to live in the community and 2) translation of evidence based practice (EBP) and best practices (BP) into culturally informed care both locally and globally.  Currently Dr. Skemp is facilitating the development of interdisciplinary participation in gerontological initiatives at Our Lady of the Lake College. In partnership with the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program she has developed and continues to offer the “Interprofessional Program on Capacity Building for Healthy Aging” study abroad programs in Karnataka, south India and St. Lucia, West Indies.

Yolanda Whyte, MD

Dr. Yolanda Whyte has been practicing primary care pediatrics for 7 years.  She began her career as Director of Pediatrics at a rural community hospital, and contracts with other pediatricians throughout the state of Georgia and Indian Health Service.  Her most rewarding experiences have been on medical mission trips to Ghana, Vietnam, Guyana, Jamaica and Haiti.

Dr. Whyte’s expertise is in environmental health and advocacy, where she lobbies and provides medical testimony to politicians and other policymakers on air pollution, water quality, food quality and safe chemicals. She serves as a medical consultant to a number of environmental health organizations.

Dr. Whyte earned a B.S. in Biology at Howard University.  She earned her medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison.  At present, she is a member of American Academy of Pediatrics including their Council on Environmental Health, Physicians for Social Responsibility, National Medical Association and Medical Association of Atlanta.

Local Faculty

Professor Craig Just, PhD

Dr. Maureen McCue, MD, PhD

Professor Tyler Priest, PhD

Dr. John Rachow, MD

Professor Jerry Schnoor, Director CGRER

Professor Hazel Seaba, Associate Dean of Pharmacy

Professor Christopher Squier, PhD, DSc

Professor Anne Wallis, PhD

UI Student Contributors

Elliott Beenk

Ingrid Belding

Zach Carter

Lindsay Fox

Allison Kindig

Stephanie Lane

Louis Livingstone

Emily Monroe

Sharon Sanghez

Special Guests

Senator Joe Bolkcom

Democrat Joe Bolkcom is currently serving in his fourth term in the Iowa Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and re-elected in 2002 and 2006 and 2010. Joe was elected a Senate Assistant Majority Leader for the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions. Joe is the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Joe serves on the Natural Resource and Environment Committee. He has been activity involved in environmental advocacy work for more than 25 years through his work on energy, climate change, air quality, solid waste, clean water and alternative transportation issues.

Jessica Brackett, Director of CLAM

Jessica Brackett worked in GLBT politics for more than 10 years. She published a statewide magazine, The Voice, in efforts to pass safe schools legislation; managed the field campaign for the civil rights bill, which enumerated sexual orientation and gender identity in state code; and was the Director of the Marriage Initiative with One Iowa. While with Plains Justice, Brackett was the Energy Transition Campaign Coordinator, and she currently the Executive Director of Clean Air Muscatine. She received her Masters of Public Administration at Drake University.    

Tim Dwight

Tim Dwight is an Iowa City native. He played for the Hawkeye Football Team before going on to play ten professional seasons in Atlanta, San Diego, New England, New York, and Oakland. He founded the Tim Dwight Foundation which aids the Children’s Hospital of Iowa and the Tim Dwight scholarship fund through its youth summer football camp proceeds.

Tim currently owns and operates Integrated Power Corporation, a solar engineering, procurement and construction firm that performs business with commercial, industrial and utility customers. He enjoys community efforts regarding sustainability, education, healthy choices and is an advocate of renewable energy.

Senator Robb Hogg

Rob Hogg is currently serving his second term as state representative from House District 38 in parts of southeast and northeast Cedar Rapids. He was first elected in 2002, and was reelected in 2004. He has served on the education, public safety, environment, and ways and means committees, and the economic development budget subcommittee. In 2005, he was selected as the Legislator of the Year by the Older Iowans Legislature.

After law school, Rob clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay, Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rob then practiced at  Leonard, Street and Deinard, in the Twin Cities. Rob clerked for the Honorable Michael J. Melloy, then Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. Since 2000, he has practiced law with the firm of Elderkin & Pirnie, P.L.C., in Cedar Rapids, where he represents both businesses and individuals in a variety of matters.

Elsa Johnson, Native American Environmental Advocate

Elsa Johnson is Director and founder of IINA Solutions, a non-profit humanitarian and environmental justice organization established to help improve the quality of life for underprivileged rural Navajo elders. In 2011 she launched Plateau Solar, the first comprehensive alternative infrastructure project in Indian Country bringing solar electricity, water, and sanitation to disadvantaged rural Navajo elders.
She is currently assisting Navajo grassroots groups stop SB2019 and HR4067, an Indian water settlement written to prolong dirty power generation and coalmining activities at the expense of Navajo and Hopi residents, the Black Mesa environment and the pristine Navajo-Aquifer.

Elsa free-lances with Lock & Key Productions as a consultant and coordinator on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition series. She co-produced the Life on an Indian Reservation episode with Academy Award nominees, Morgan Spurlock and Isabel Vega for FX Network. Currently she is working on a feature film about Nanibah, an adopted Navajo girl that returns to Navajo from New York City to find her blood family.

Ms. Johnson has a degree in Fine Arts from Arizona State University and is working on a Museum Studies certificate.  In 2003, she helped institute the ASU Del E. Webb School of Construction’s prestigious International Construction in Indian Country Conference and scholarship fund for Native American students majoring in construction management.

Denise O’Brien, Farmer & Founder WFAN

Denise O'Brien is a farmer and community organizer from Atlantic, Iowa. Throughout her 36 year farming career, Denise has had numerous opportunities to work within the agricultural community to develop policy at the state, national and international level. She has been extremely involved in local food systems and conservation issues, as the founder of Women Food and Agriculture Network,  organizing the Women's Task Force of the Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, directing the Rural Women's Leadership Development Project of PrairieFire Rural Action, Inc. and serving as president of the National Family Farm Coalition

Denise has received numerous awards for her community achievements and accomplishments and was inducted into Iowa's Women's Hall of Fame in 2000. She has received the 2004 Iowa Farmer's Union Life Time Achievement Award as well as the 2005 Practical Farmers of Iowa Sustainable Ag Achievement Award. In 2006 Denise received the Athena Award from the Atlantic, Iowa Chamber of Commerce. She recently received the Conservation Award from the Woodmen of the World Lodges 14 and 6011 of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

O’Brien recently completed a year as an USDA agriculture adviser in Afghanistan.

Barry Shear

Barry R. Shear, President and owner of Eagle Point Solar is committed to the wide spread implementation of solar power and the legislative policies that promote the growth of renewable energy systems. Barry founded Eagle Point Solar and built it into one of the larger solar developers in the State of Iowa and Western Illinois.   To date, Eagle Point Solar has 15 municipal, commercial, and residential installations totaling in excess of 1 megawatt. 

Prior to Eagle Point Solar, Mr. Shear was part owner and CEO of Help At Home, Inc., a large homecare provider with operations in 13 states and 140 operating units, providing over 13 million hours of care the last year of his ownership.

Prior to Help at Home, Mr. Shear was a partner in the management consulting firm of Silverman Consulting where he participated in the turnarounds of troubled and underperforming companies all over the United States.

Mr. Shear is a CPA, Certified Turnaround Consultant and has had a wide variety of experience in many different industries.  He is a graduate of the University of Iowa having majored in Accounting and Finance.

Conference Planning Committee, 2012

Professor Hazel Seaba, Associate Dean of Pharmacy

Professor Christopher Squier, PhD, DSc

Professor Anne Wallis, PhD