Expertise: Environmental Justice; Environmental Health Disparities; Hazardous Waste and Wastewater; Oil and Gas Pollution; Public Health
Jill Johnston works to develop community-academic partnerships to advance environmental health and justice in disadvantaged urban and rural neighborhoods. Dr. Johnston’s research combines community engagement with exposure assessment and epidemiology, to address environmental health concerns. In particular, she is interested in assessing exposure pathways to pollutants as a result of industrial activities.
Dr. Johnston has collaborated with community organizations in San Antonio, TX to assess the migration of chlorinated solvents from groundwater into indoor air (vapor intrusion) near a former Air Force Base. Using community-driven approaches, she has worked to assess exposure to emerging contaminants due to land-applied sewage sludge as well as assess impacts of industrial animal operations. Her interest in environmental justice research emerged from years spent as a community organizer in South Texas working towards just remediation of legacy contamination, a healthy built environment and meaningful community participation in decision-making processes. She received her PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in environmental epidemiology.
At USC, Dr. Johnston will continue to utilize participatory and community-based methods to understand the impacts of industrial processes and chemical use on the environment, characterize pathways of human exposure, and evaluate approaches to increase health, equity and justice.