Interview with Dr. Mark Mitchell, founder of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ)

The Toxic Avengers

Apr 5 2022 • 1 hr 6 mins

This is Part One of my interview with Dr. Mark Mitchell, founder of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ). A medical doctor, with a Masters in Public Health, he is a long-time toxics and public health advocate.

Dr. Mitchell is currently working at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, serving as the Director of State Affairs for the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, and Director of the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship Program.

He previously served as the Deputy Director of the Kansas City Missouri Health Department for six years, and Director of the Hartford Health Department in Hartford Connecticut for four years, before leaving to start the Hartford Environmental Justice Network, later renamed the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.

In the first part of our interview, Mark discusses his current work on climate, health and environmental justice, including educating and organizing medical health professionals, and explains his pneumonic for the health effects of climate change.

He then describes his childhood growing up in St. Louis Missouri, and how the racism he experienced from an early age formed the path he took to become a doctor with a focus on the preventative side of medical practice, and environmental stressors of health.

Mark then describes some of his experiences while getting his Masters in Public Health from John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his early work opposing the influence of the tobacco industry.

Mark is a great storyteller, with a million stories to tell, and it was both a pleasure and an honor to speak with him.

For more on Dr. Mitchell’s life story, here is an essay he wrote in 2020 for the journal Daedalus: “Racism as a Motivator for Environmental Justice”

Here is his 1984 memo to the Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation re the CBCF’s promotion of smoking: https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=yjmj0143

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