Elise Miller, MEd, is Director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), an international partnership of researchers, health professionals and environmental health and justice advocates working to mitigate environmental contributors to chronic disease and disability. CHE is a major program of Commonweal, a 30-year-old health and environment research and educational institute. As a co-founder of CHE in 2002, Ms. Miller also served as the coordinator for CHE’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) for seven years, which received the Autism Society of America’s “Champion Award” in 2010.
In addition, Ms. Miller serves on the Board of Directors of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) and The Endocrine Disruptor Exchange (TEDX). She was recently named to the National Advisory Board of the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), after 12 years of service on the Network’s Board of Directors. In addition, she is a member of the professional advisory boards of four other nonprofits in the environmental health field. She also is a member of the US EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee.
In 1999, Ms. Miller founded the national Institute for Children’s Environmental Health (ICEH) and served as its executive director for 10 years. She merged ICEH with Commonweal in 2009. At that time, the Institute became a working group of CHE and renamed the Initiative on Children’s Environmental Health. In this new form, the Initiative continues to offer science-based resources to guide actions to reduce environmental exposures and other factors that can undermine children’s healthy development. CHE’s ICEH recently co-hosted a national pediatric integrative health symposium in San Francisco, along with the University of California San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Health and the Whole Child Center, prior to the 2010 annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
From 1993-1998, Ms. Miller served as the founding Executive Director of the Jenifer Altman Foundation, a private foundation in northern California, which at the time held interests in sustainable development, environmental health, mind-body health, and issues affecting disadvantaged children. In 2001, she completed a three-year Fetzer Fellowship for her work with emerging leaders on sustainable development and environmental health issues.
Ms. Miller has also been an editor, teacher, researcher, mental health counselor, journalist and community-based advocate. She has worked, studied and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, and spent two years living in India first as a journalist, stringing for the Economist and the Christian Science Monitor, and later as a researcher for her graduate degree. She received her Masters in Education from Harvard University in 1992 and her Bachelor’s degree in History with high honors from Dartmouth College in 1985.
On a personal note, Ms. Miller lives with her husband and five-year-old son, adopted from Nepal, on an island north of Seattle. They built their home based on ecologically sustainable principles. They enjoy maintaining an organic vegetable garden, climbing two 18-foot ropes in their living room (along with other kids and adults in the neighborhood), and reveling in the many wonders of the natural world.