The 2024 John P. Wyatt, M.D., Environment and Health Symposium was held Thursday, April 4 on the University of Kentucky campus at the J. David Rosenberg College of Law Grand Courtroom. The Wyatt symposium honors the legacy of Dr. John P. Wyatt and his pioneering environmental clinical research on air pollution and lung pathology. Multiple universities and agencies from across the state gathered to present research and practice focused on the environment and its impact on health in Kentucky.

Video of full symposium can be viewed here.

Local news coverage video can be viewed here.


Mayor presents proclamation
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton signed a proclamation recognizing April as Environment and Health Month. Jeremy Blackburn | Research Communications

Mayor Proclaims April as Environment and Health Month in Lexington

“Lexington is a regional hub for both health care and agriculture in the Commonwealth thanks to the many pioneering leaders like Dr. John P. Wyatt,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “Today, we are committed to educating a new generation of leaders, raising awareness about environmental public health issues, and ensuring a healthy environment for many years to come.”

“I am thrilled that Mayor Gorton has declared April as Environment and Health month,” said symposium organizer Erin Haynes, Dr.P.H., the Kurt W. Deuschle Professor of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health and director of the UK Center for the Environment. “This is momentous as it acknowledges the alignment of the ongoing commitment of the Wyatt family in sponsoring the symposium and celebrating the significant contributions of those who positively impact the public’s health through environmental research and advocacy.”

The annual symposium is made possible by the generous support of the John P. Wyatt family and most notably a gift from his son, Philip Wyatt. Dr. John P. Wyatt was one of the first physicians who connected air pollution with lung disease and was the director of the UK Tobacco and Health Research Institute from 1974 until 1980. 

2024 Awardee

Arthur Frank with group
Arthur Frank, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, presented the keynote. Frank taught for 11 years at UK and started the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health. Jeremy Blackburn | Research Communications

The 2024 John P. Wyatt, M.D. Environment and Health Award was presented to Dr. Arthur Frank in recognition of outstanding contributions to environment and health.

“Dr. Frank is an exemplary public health champion who has dedicated his career to research and advocacy on occupational and environmental issues including lung diseases, such as asbestosis, an entirely preventable disease," said symposium organizer Erin Haynes, the Kurt W. Deuschle Professor of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health and director of the UK Center for the Environment. “He has achieved international acclaim in the area of pulmonary occupational safety and health. As the first chair of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health in the UK College of Medicine and initiator of the Master of Science in Public Health, Dr. Frank is one of the founder fathers of the College of Public Health. It is a tremendous honor to recognize his accomplishments as we celebrate our college’s 20th anniversary.”

Frank said, “It is a true pleasure to return to the University of Kentucky and I am honored to be the Wyatt keynote speaker this year. The discipline of Public Health has contributed greatly to the betterment of mankind and progress has been made in protecting the health and well-being of workers and those with environmental exposures. Work still needs to be done, but training and educating new public health practitioners will assist in continuing progress as the solutions of unfinished problems continue to be addressed.”  


The symposium included a panel of committed leaders focusing on significant public health issues that impact many Kentuckians.

Expert Panel: Dr. Cheryl Witt, Dr. Thomas C. Tucker, Dr. Luz Huntington-Moskos. Jeremy Blackburn | Research Communications
associate professor, school of nursing, university of louisville
"Kentucky Youth Addressing pfas in the water we share"

Luz Huntington-Moskos, PhD, RN, CPN, is an Associate Professor and Director of the Community Engagement Core for the Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Louisville. She received her Ph.D. in Nursing from The University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2013 and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Kentucky BREATHE program in 2014. Dr. Huntington-Moskosis a 2021-2024 Betty Irene Moore Fellow and her program of research is focused on the intersection between adolescent health, environmental health and health disparities. She is working to develop report-back strategies geared towards adolescents, with the goal of building environmental health literacy and promoting positive health behavior change. She has a long-standing interest in promoting adolescent health, which she first developed during her work as high school science teacher in the Peace Corps (Malawi 1994-1996). Her scholarly work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Preventing Chronic Disease, Journal of Adolescent Health and Public Health Nursing.


professor, college of public health, university of kentucky

This presentation will focus on the major cancers (Lung and colorectal cancer) that impact Kentuckians, the impressive progress we have made reducing the burden of these cancers, and the environmental exposures that continue to drivehigh incidence rates of these cancers.

Thomas C. Tucker, PhD, MPH, was the founding chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health and is currently a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. He is also the Senior Director for Cancer Surveillance at the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center. For more than 20 years he served as the Markey Cancer Center's Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control, Director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry, PrincipalInvestigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), and PrincipalInvestigator for the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program in Kentucky. He is an internationally recognized population scientist with more than 45 years of experience in cancer surveillance and cancer control research. Dr. Tucker was elected as one of two North American Representatives to serve on the International Association of Cancer Registries' Board of Directors and he is a member of the working group for CONCORD-2, an international study of cancer survival in 71 countries. He is a past President of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) and in 2002 he received NAACCR’s highest honor, the CalumMuir Award, for lifetime contributions to the science of cancer surveillance. His research is focused on disparities in the burden of lung, colorectal, breast and cervical cancer with an emphasis on rural and Appalachian populations. More recently he has been engaged in research using the population-based cancer registry as a Virtual Tissue Repository.


Dr. Witt is an Ag Extension Specialist Senior at the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment; otherwise known as the Ag Nurse. She uses her 30-year plus nursing experience and love for farm families to pursue her research interest of improving the health and safety of farmers and farm families.
Dr. Witt, along with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, initiated a collaborative group of key stakeholders from across thestate to address the levels of stress, depressive symptoms, and suicide among our farmers as well as to promote the physical health and safety in our farmers. She uses outreach, research, collaboration, education and mainly a boots-on-the-ground approach to provide the farmers and farm families what they need where they need it.

Poster Session

student poster winners
Dr. Jason Marion,  Eastern Kentucky University, announces award winners. Left to right: Outstanding Research Poster Presentation: Josiane W. Tessmann, UK. Outstanding Research Poster Presentation: Victoria Klaus, UK. People's Choice Poster Presentation: Jerika L. Durham, UK.

Poster abstracts focusing on the environment and its impact on health were submitted by students, graduate students, faculty, staff, interns, and postdoctoral participants. See the photo gallery below for winners and poster participants. 

In Partnership With:

The University of Kentucky Office of the Vice President for Research and Universities and Organizations across the state.



Thursday, April 4, 2024
UK Rosenberg College of Law Grand Courtroom 620 S Limestone, Lexington, KY

9:00 AM On-site Registration & Breakfast

9:00-10:00 AM Poster Session

10:00 AM Welcome


10:20 AM Presentation of John P. Wyatt, MD Award

10:30 AM Keynote Speaker: Arthur Frank, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair Emeritus, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University and Professor of Medicine

Keynote: “Minerals, Plants, and Policy - Public Health in Action”
Coal and Asbestos, Agriculture Work, and Policy Implications and Legal Activities

11:30 AM On-site Lunch Provided

12:00 PM Presentation of Poster Session People’s Choice Award

Panel: Public Health in Action
Luz Huntington-Moskos, PhD, RN, CPN
University of Louisville, Associate Professor and Director of the Community Engagement Core for the Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences
“Kentucky Youth Addressing PFAS in the Water We Share”

Thomas C. Tucker, PhD, MPH
University of Kentucky, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, and Senior Director for Cancer Surveillance at the Markey Cancer Center
“Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Kentucky”

Cheryl Witt, PhD, RN
University of Kentucky, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing
“Addressing the Total Worker Health of Farmers”

1:00-2:00 PM Facilitated Discussion with Keynote Speaker and Panelists


2024 John P. Wyatt, M.D. Symposium Agenda (pdf, 1 pg)