Jennifer Liss Ohayon, PhD

Jennie Liss Ohayon
Research Scientist, Environmental Policy and Community-Engaged Research

Dr. Jennie Liss Ohayon is a Research Scientist at Silent Spring Institute, specializing in environmental policy, community-engaged research, and environmental justice. She is currently working on projects to report back to study participants and community partners in the U.S. and Chile their exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals. She also researches the emergence of scientific and activist concerns around industrial chemicals with Northeastern’s PFAS lab, and, in collaboration with co-investigators at the University of California, Berkeley, is evaluating the effectiveness of California-based legislation that aims to reduce or eliminate exposures to toxic substances. With the support of the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Institute, she recently partnered with high schools across the state to translate environmental health research into hands-on curriculum that helps students reduce toxic exposures. She works with the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a network formed to address threats to federal environmental policy and data, to track changes to EPA’s structure and science production.

Dr. Ohayon completed her PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz researching the remediation of toxic waste in military Superfund sites. With research support from the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results fellowship and the National Science Foundation, she did fieldwork to evaluate how policy around public participation and environmental justice is translated into cleanup programs. She also used data from all military Superfund sites for quantitative and spatial analyses of how factors such as the race and class demographics of surrounding neighborhoods contribute to how quickly sites are remediated. During this time, she created an interactive curriculum in environmental sciences for high school students that are disproportionately affected by environmental problems and who come from communities that are underrepresented in the field of environmental science.

Prior to beginning her PhD, Dr. Ohayon worked in two conservation biology laboratories and led education and recreation programs for children in low-income housing. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, with majors in biology and political science. In her free time, she enjoys traveling (she's explored six continents) and various food-related pursuits—gardening, canning, and of course eating delicious vegetarian food!


Publications & Presentations

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  • Ohayon, J.L., S. Rasanayagam, R.A. Rudel, S. Patton, H. Buren, T. Stefani, J. Trowbridge, C. Clarity, J.G. Brody, R. Morello-Frosch. 2023. Translating community-based participatory research into broadscale sociopolitical change: insights from a coalition of women firefighters, scientists, and environmental health advocatesEnvironmental Health.

  • Ohayon, J.L, A. Cordner, A. Amico, P. Brown, L. Richter. 2023. Persistent chemicals, persistent activism: scientific opportunity structures and social movement organizing on contamination by per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Social Movement Studies.

  • Kohl, E., M. Sullivan, M. M. Chambers, A. Cordner, C. Sellers, L. Fredrickson, and J. L. Ohayon. 2021. From ‘marginal to marginal’: environmental justice under the Trump administration. Environmental Sociology.

  • Sullivan, M., C. Sellers, L. Fredrickson, A. Cordner, E. Kohl, J.L. Ohayon. 2021. Re-envisioning EPA and its work in the post-Trump era: perspectives from EPA employeesJournal of Public Health Policy.

  • Ohayon, J.L., E. Nost, K. Silk, M.R. Rakoff, J.G. Brody. 2020. Barriers and opportunities for breast cancer organizations to focus on environmental health and disease prevention: a mixed-methods approach using website analyses, interviews, and focus groups. Environmental Health. 19:15.

  • Vera, L., L. Dillon, S. Wylie, J. L. Ohayon, A. Lemelin, P. Brown, C. Sellers, D. Walker, and Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. 2018. Data resistance: A social movement organizational autoethnography of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 23(4): 511-529.

  • Perovich, L.J., J.L. Ohayon, E.M. Cousins, R. Morello-Frosch, P. Brown, G. Adamkiewicz, J.G. Brody. 2018. Reporting to parents on children’s exposures to asthma triggers in low-income and public housing, an interview-based case study of ethics, environmental literacy, individual action, and public health benefitsEnvironmental Health, 17(48).

  • Fredrickson, L., C. Sellers, L. Dillon, J. L. Ohayon, N. Shapiro, M. Sullivan, S. Bocking, P. Brown, V. De La Rosa, J. Harrison, S. Johns, K. Kulik, R. Lave, M. Murphy, L. Piper, L. Richter, and S. Wylie. 2018. History of US presidential assaults on modern environmental health protection. American Journal of Public Health, 108(S2): S95-S103.

  • Dillon, L., C. Sellers, V. Underhill, N. Shapiro, J. L. Ohayon, M. Sullivan, P. Brown, J. Harrison, S. Wylie, and “EPA Under Siege” Writing Group. 2018. The Environmental Protection Agency in the early Trump Administration: Prelude to regulatory capture. American Journal of Public Health, 108(S2): S89-S94.

  • Ohayon, J.L., E. Cousins, P. Brown, R. Morello-Frosch, J.G. Brody. 2017. Researcher and institutional review board perspectives on the benefits and challenges of reporting back biomonitoring and environmental exposure results. Environmental Research, 153:140-149. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.12.003