ERFAS Spring 2018 Luncheon
Dr. Amy Cabrera Rasmussen
Associate Professor, Political Science Department
“Democracy, Expertise, and Environmental Health Outcomes: Lessons from the Long Beach Context”
A port city, Long Beach has the rail yards, freeways, and other industrial facilities that go along with goods movement. Attendant pollution makes its way into Southern California more broadly, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s worst in air quality. Long Beach is one of the cities most affected, and the overall pollution burden is highest in its north, west, and central neighborhoods-- parts of the city whose population characteristics increase residents’ vulnerability. Medical research substantiates severe local health impacts, including asthma, respiratory problems, lung maldevelopment among youth, hypertension, and more. This presentation will engage such issues of environmental health in the Long Beach context grounded in examples drawn from recent and ongoing debates concerning infrastructure and industrial development. In particular, this research aims to understand how forms of expertise function within policymaking and discourse concerning local environmental health, with attention to how impact assessment documents and procedures can have implications for both health outcomes and democratic processes.
Dr. Amy Cabrera Rasmussen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from CSULB and her Ph.D. from Yale University, all in Political Science. She was a visiting researcher at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and has received research fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the American Association of University Women, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Her research seeks to contribute to practical solutions on issues of both national and local importance—by laying bare understudied but foundational aspects of seemingly intractable policy problems existing in situations of complex causality and responsibility, such as those related to health and the environment. She teaches courses on American politics and public policy at both the undergraduate and masters level. She also serves as one of her department’s undergraduate advisors, work which was recognized by the university in 2017 with the CSULB Distinguished Faculty Advising Award.