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NHE 5-8 Advocacy, organizing, and the power of story

Nurses for Healthy Environments
Nurses for Healthy Environments
NHE 5-8 Advocacy, organizing, and the power of story

Tune into this session with Dr. Rachel Kerr and Jill Aquino, who share their stories about their journeys into climate nursing. Listen to Kerr share her experience as a nurse leader supporting teams stopping emissions at the source – fossil fuel extraction. Aquino then describes her role as a community organizer leading state and nation-wide efforts to electrify school buses on behalf of child health. From networking and community building tips to resources for self care, Rachel and Jill provide an overview of what it takes to be a force for good at the intersection of climate and nursing.


Rachel Kerr, DNP, RN currently works as the Energy Program Director at Earthworks.  Dr. Kerr has a background in oncology nursing and holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kerr previously managed programming focused on environmental health, environmental justice, health equity, and anti-racism with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.  Outside the professional sphere, Rachel is a parent, a dancer, and a lover of the outdoors and the creatures of the Earth.







Jill Aquino, RN, MS completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Maryland College Park, attained her nursing degree from County College of Morris in NJ, completed her School Nursing Certification at Seton Hall University, and attained her Masters in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. Jill has a background in pediatric and child-adolescent psych nursing, and she served as a school nurse at Newton High School in NJ for 16.5 years. In June 2021, Jill left her school nursing role to follow her true passion: environmental health nursing. Jill’s recent advocacy efforts at local and national levels focus on the need for bold investments in electric school buses to dramatically reduce the asthma rates plaguing our nation’s children. Jill is active with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Clinicians Climate Action New Jersey, and the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.




About the Nurses’ Climate Challenge Podcast Series

The  2022 Nurses Climate Challenge series elevates nurses from all walks of life taking action to address the number one public health threat of the 21st century: climate change. Listen in as Nurses Climate Challenge founder Shanda Demorest, registered nurse and outdoor enthusiast, interviews Nurse Climate Champions inspiring others to take climate action. Co-sponsored by ANHE and Health Care Without Harm, the Nurses Climate Challenge is a national campaign with the goal of empowering nurses to educate 50,000 health professionals about the health impacts of climate change by the end of 2022.


Dr. Shanda Demorest, DNP, RN, PHN (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director for Climate and Health Education at Health Care Without Harm, a global non profit with a mission to decarbonize the health care sector and create transformative change by building climate resilience in support of human health. A cardiovascular nurse with horticultural training by background, Dr. Demorest earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Health Innovation and Leadership from the University of Minnesota.


About the Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast

Since 2017, Beth and other hosts have interviewed dozens of nurses across the globe, all of whom are working at the intersection of health and environment. Practicing clinical nurses, faculty and educators, policy makers and elected officials, leaders of non-profits, students, and more have shared their work, commitments and perspectives.

There are two primary goals of the podcast. First, to spread the word about the fabulous work of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments – so we’re glad you found us! Second, to highlight and share the amazing and leading work nurses around the world are doing to help protect our natural world in order to support health and healing.

Again and again, nurses are spearheading social change, climate action,environmental justice, and improving health for vulnerable populations, while using their valuable clinical skills, teaching, and caring.  Nurses’ work can seem overlooked or taken for granted, and we are here to tell their important stories. We hope you enjoy meeting the nurses in the Nurses for Healthy Environments podcast!

Beth Schenk, Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast Host

Elizabeth Schenk, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a leader of environmental stewardship in healthcare, where she has been working to reduce pollution from healthcare for 3 decades. Schenk is the executive director of environmental stewardship for Providence, one of the largest non-profit health systems in the United States. She led the development of CHANT: the Climate and Health Tool to understand perceptions, behaviors and motivations of health professionals regarding climate and health. She developed the WE ACT PLEASE framework for environmental stewardship, identifying key focus areas of Waste, Energy/water, Agriculture/food, Chemicals, and Transportation. Schenk serves on the national board of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and on the boards of Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate and Climate Smart Missoula. She lives in Missoula, Montana.