Surili Sutaria Patel
Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.— Rabindranath Tagore
Surili is a trusted voice in public health who champions diversity and works to advance health equity and environmental justice.
Surili approaches health and the environment through thoughtful coalition building and innovative strategies that work to advance equity and improve access. With a profound public health and biomedical research background, she has led the climate and health discussion out of environmental circles and into the broader public health realm.
Her areas of expertise include:
- Developing strategy on intersectional issues, like climate change, health equity and Tribal public health
- Building partnerships among public agencies and communities
- Designing advocacy and national policy strategy
- Crafting environmental health messaging
Surili has deep issue-based knowledge in environmental health priorities including water safety and security, children’s environmental health, Tribal public and environmental health, transportation and health, and healthy community design.
Surili held a visionary leadership position at the American Public Health Association, where she drove strategic development to bridge the gap between public health practice and sound policies. As the director of the Center for Climate, Health and Equity, she inspired action by public health professionals and advanced policy agendas that address health at the nexus of climate and equity. As deputy director for the Center for Public Health Policy, she elevated the association’s environmental health program to the national stage.
Surili holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Master’s of Science in biomedical science policy and advocacy from Georgetown University.
Surili finds passion in supporting efforts to advance health equity and environmental policies. The organizations she currently serves with include:
- Aawaz4Climate – Co-founder with Seema Wadhwa
- Physicians for Social Responsibility – Board of Directors, Treasurer, DEIJ co-chair, executive committee
- Environmental Health Matters Initiative at the National Academies – Liaison
- Yale Center on Climate Change and Health – Advisory Board
- Children’s Environmental Health Network – gala/fundraising committee
- RESOLVE – Board of Advisors
She enjoys painting, hiking and cooking international cuisines. As a former semi-professional Bharatanatyam dancer, she seeks opportunities to learn about arts and cultures from around the world.