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Whitehead, PhD, MPH

Senior Associate, Environmental Justice

Dr. LaToria Whitehead is an accomplished thought leader working at the intersection of public health, environmental justice, and environmental sustainability, with nearly 20 years of experience working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, most recently in an interim role at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Office of Environmental Justice.  Dr. Whitehead championed the modernization and updated execution of existing federal-level initiatives for the revision of the 2022 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation plan, providing new and innovative approaches to guide the actions and strategies for 11 HHS operating divisions, including— but not limited to— the CDC, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and Administration for Children and Families.

In her role at Abt, Dr. Whitehead will guide project delivery on matters related to environmental and climate justice within Abt’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) account, providing expertise to EPA program offices, partners, and other stakeholders.  She will also support broader Abt efforts to apply an equity lens to internal and external corporate activities.

Prior to joining Abt, Dr. Whitehead served as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Health Equity for HHS, where she was recruited by the Senior Advisor to the White House on Climate Change and Health Equity to establish the agency’s first Office of Environmental Justice. During her time at the CDC, Dr. Whitehead served as a Senior Public Health Advisor and oversaw the improvement of public health for Tribal communities, providing support, guidance, and practical strategies for executing Coronavirus Preparedness Response activities.  As a Senior Advisor and Environmental Justice Officer for CDC, she introduced environmental justice opportunities and led programs across the nation to address social justice and public health equity issues and improve social determinants of health related to childhood lead poisoning prevention and minority health for vulnerable populations. In this role, she created partnerships and strategic alliances with other government agencies, including the EPA.  She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Spelman College and on the city of Atlanta’s Clean Energy Advisory Board.


  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Health / Public Policy
  • Health Equity
  • Program Development
  • Community Engagement


  • Childhood Lead Poisoning: A Perpetual Environmental Justice Issue? Whitehead, LaToria and Buchanan, Sharunda. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. January / February 2019.
  • The Road Towards Environmental Justice from a Multi-faceted Lens. Whitehead, LaToria. 2015 Journal of Environmental Health. Vol.77 No. 6
  • An Effective Environmental Justice Partnership: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Citizens for Environmental Justice. Whitehead, LaToria, Johnson, G. Boone, W. and Grant, H. 2012 Race, Gender, and Class. Vol. 19.
  • The Influence of Non-Governmental Organizations on Public Policy: A Case Study on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Savannah, Georgia. LaToria Whitehead
  • Potential Strategies to Eliminate Built Environment Disparities for Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Communities.  Hutch DJ, Bouye KE, Skillen E, Lee C, Whitehead L, Rashid JR. 2011 American Journal of Public Health.  Vol. 101, (4):587-95.
LaToria Whitehead, PhD, MPH