Loren Hopkins

WEBSITE(S)| Houston Health Department | Houston Wastewater Epidemiology | NEJAC | Google Scholar

Loren Hopkins is a nationally recognized expert in environmental science and engineering. Her unique affiliation with Rice University’s Department of Statistics and the Houston Health Department has played a central role in applied research and the translation of advances in science, engineering, and higher education to inform city policymakers and improve public health. In March 2022, she was named to the National Academies’ Committee on Community Wastewater-based Disease Surveillance.

Since 2001, Hopkins has served as a lecturer, faculty fellow, and professor in the practice of statistics at Rice University. She teaches courses in her areas of expertise, including environmental statistics and decision-making, the association between human health and air pollution exposure, and human health risk assessment. 

Hopkins has been involved in all aspects of human health risk assessment, including as a practitioner in the private sector, regulatory reviewer, policy developer, and instructor. She is currently the chief environmental science officer for the Houston Health Department. In this role, Hopkins leads the Data Services, Data Science, and Wastewater Sampling and Surveillance programs for the City of Houston. In 2014, she served as a visiting scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch in Atlanta, Georgia. Hopkins has served as the chair of the Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee Executive Board, and as the chair of the Houston Wilderness Executive Board. Currently, she serves on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC).

For the City of Houston and its Department of Health, Hopkins has provided local, state, and national leadership on environmental studies and has reviewed proposed state, federal and local environmental policies impacting the Greater Houston Area. In May 2020, Hopkins began leading efforts between Rice and the City of Houston to establish and implement a city-wide wastewater epidemiology surveillance program to serve as an early-warning system to inform a planned response to viral outbreaks.

Hopkins’ research has been published in 24 peer-reviewed journal papers and has been presented at many local, state, and national conferences. She has been involved in all aspects of human health risk assessment, including as a practitioner in the private sector, regulatory reviewer, policy developer, and continuing education instructor at various locations across the U.S.

Research Areas

Environmental statistics, human health risk assessment, association between human health and air pollution exposure and translation of science to policy

Industry Impact & Relevance

Bring environmental statistics, research into action policy changes

Education

Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University

M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University

B.S. in Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin

Advisory Role

2018-present Executive Commitie, (Past Chair), Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

2018-Jan 2020 Chair, Houston Wilderness Executive Board

2016-present Fellow, Kinder Institute of Urban Research

2013-present Environmental Analysis Professional Masters Faculty Advisor, Rice University

2014-17 Vice Chair, Houston Wilderness Executive Board

2017-18 Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Monitoring Fellow, Department of State, U.S. Embassy Jakarta

2017 Vice Chair, Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

Teaching Areas

Environmental Statistics

Environmental Risk Assessment & Human Health

Societies & Organizations

Houston Wilderness

Society of Public Health Educators

Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee

Honors & Awards

2022 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Wastewater Surveillance System Center of Excellence Award

2017 National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health, Center for Health Leadership & Practice

2016 Teaching and Mentoring Award, Graduate Student Association, Rice University

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