Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Gina Solomon, MD, MPH

Gina Solomon is a Principal Investigator at PHI, researching environmental health and chemical policy issues. She is specifically evaluating how California’s Green Chemistry Laws could be enhanced to better protect the public from chemicals that may cause breast cancer.

Dr. Solomon is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She served as the Deputy Secretary for Science and Health at the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) from 2012-2017, and as a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council from 1996-2012. She was also the director of the occupational and environmental medicine residency program at UCSF, and the co-director of the UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit.

Dr. Solomon’s work has spanned a wide array of areas, including children’s environmental health, reproductive toxicity, cumulative impacts and environmental justice, and the use of novel data streams to screen chemicals for toxicity. She has also done work in exposure science for air pollutants, pesticides, mold, and metals in soil, and on the health effects of climate change. She was involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and the Chevron Richmond explosion and fire, and she successfully spearheaded regulations to improve refinery safety in California.

Dr. Solomon has served on multiple boards and committees of the National Academies of Science, the EPA Science Advisory Board, and the National Toxicology Program’s Board of Scientific Counselors. Dr. Solomon received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, her M.D. from Yale, and did her M.P.H. and her residency and fellowship training in internal medicine and occupational and environmental medicine at Harvard.

Fire and Water: Investigating Drinking Water Contamination in Paradise, California after the Camp Fire

The Camp fire in November 2018 decimated the towns of Paradise and Magalia, California, burning nearly 14,000 homes but leaving about 1,700 homes in the area intact. Returning residents are now facing an unexpected threat: benzene contamination in the drinking water. This study is designed to answer the following questions: (1) What are the benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) concentrations inside homes? (2) Are there other contaminants, whether regulated or non-regulated, in the water system? and (3) Are there clues to the source of the contamination? We will collect samples from 10% of unburned homes (approximately 175 homes) for benzene and VOC analysis, and will do innovative non-targeted analyses at 20 homes to try to determine the source of the contamination. More information about the study is available here.

Benzene Contamination of Drinking Water: A Surprise Complication from Wildfires (2020)

"Massive wildfires have torn through California and other Western states in recent years. The magnitude and destruction of these fires is unpr...

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California’s Green Chemistry Initiative at Age 10: An Evaluation of Its Progress and Promise (2018)

Download the report In 2008, the California legislature enacted two groundbreaking laws collec...

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According to the WHO, cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 mill...

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Climate Change

The Public Health Institute considers climate change to be one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. We are dedicated ...

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The Public Health Institute believes in the importance of research- and community-based approaches to policy development. PHI produces forward...

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Today’s public health systems are challenged to do more with fewer resources. Strengthening public health systems and services is fundamental...

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