Founder and President of Environmental Health Trust
An award-winning scientist and writer, Devra Lee Davis’ work has appeared in more than a dozen languages. She was designated a National Book Award Finalist for When Smoke Ran Like Water (2002, Basic Books). Her most recent book, Disconnect, selected by TIME magazine as a top pick, received the Silver Medal from Nautilus Books for investigative journalism in 2013, and is the subject of multi-media international policy-making attention.
The Secret History of the War on Cancer was a top pick by Newsweek, that influenced national cancer policy by the Cancer Association of South Africa, and is being used at major schools of public health, including Harvard, Emory, and Tulane University. Dr. Davis also was the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and Scholar in Residence, 1983-1993.
Her career has spanned academia, public policy, and public service. President Clinton appointed the Honorable Dr. Davis to the newly established Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board,(1994-99) an independent executive branch agency that investigates,prevents, and mitigates chemical accidents. As the former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, she has counseled leading officials in the United States, United Nations, European Environment Agency, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization, and World Bank and served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. National Toxicology Program, 1983-86. She also served as a U.S. delegate to the International Conference on Women in Beijing in 1996, the Johannesburg Conference on Sustainable Development in 1997, and other major international conferences.
Dr. Davis holds a B.S. in physiological psychology and a M.A. in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, 1967. She completed a Ph.D. in science studies at the University of Chicago as a Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1972 and a M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University as a Senior National Cancer Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow,1982. She has served on a dozen doctoral committees and directed four post-doctoral fellows. She has also authored more than 200 publications in books and journals ranging from the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association to Scientific American and the New York Times and blogs in Freakonomics for the New York Times, Huffington Post and elsewhere.
Honored for her research and public policy work by various national and international groups, she has been a Fellow of both the American Colleges of Toxicology and of Epidemiology. She was honored by the Betty Ford Comprehensive Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society with the Breast Cancer Awareness Award, commended by the Director of the National Cancer Institute for Outstanding Service, and appointed a Global Environmental advisor to Newsweek Magazine.
She also served as a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the group awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with the Honorable Al Gore. The recipient of a Women’s Leadership Exchange Compass Award, presented by OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express, for breaking the paradigms of how women are perceived, Dr. Davis received the first Lisa Zhang Environmental Award from the United Nations in July 2008. In June 2009, Dr. Davis was honored with the Artemis Award presented by the Euro-American Women’s Council and the Greek Foreign Ministry in recognition of her outstanding contributions to science and public health policy. Green America gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 for her efforts to promote environmental health issues including cell phone safety awareness. She occasionally discusses avoidable environmental health hazards on national and local programming with NPR, Fox News, CNN, ABC, PBS, BBC, and various major networks in Europe and Asia.
She lives in Jackson Hole Wyoming with her husband, economist Richard Morgenstern, Senior Fellow of Resources for the Future, where she is working on her new books, Good Vibrations–secrets of the body electric, 2015; and Living on the Cutting Edge–how a revolution in pathology is transforming cancer, 2016