Linking Forest Health, Wildfire Smoke, and Public Health
CCST studies follow a process modeled after the National Academies study process with checks and balances at each stage. The report is a collaborative effort by a large number of experts serving in various capacities.
Staff of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and Blue Forest Conservation will research and write the body of the report. In addition, staff and faculty at a number of research institutions will collaborate on the report.
Steering Committee Members
CCST study steering committees oversee the report authors, reach conclusions based on the findings of the authors and draft an executive summary.
Committee Selection and Approval
Selection of appropriate committee members, individually and collectively, is essential for the success of a study. All committee members serve as individual experts, not as representatives of organizations or interest groups. Each member is expected to contribute to the project on the basis of his or her own expertise and good judgment. A committee is not finally approved until a thorough balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held, and any issues raised in that discussion are investigated and addressed. Members of a committee are anonymous until this process is completed.
Careful steps are taken to convene committees that meet the following criteria:
The committee must include experts with the speciﬁc expertise and experience needed to address the study's statement of task. A major strength of CCST is the ability to bring together recognized experts from diverse disciplines and backgrounds who might not otherwise collaborate. These diverse groups are encouraged to conceive new ways of thinking about a problem.
Having content expertise is not sufﬁcient for success. It is also essential to evaluate the overall composition of the SC in terms of different experiences and perspectives. The goal is to ensure that the relevant points of view are, in CCST’s and the Program Committee’s judgment, reasonably balanced so that the SC can carry out its charge objectively and credibly.
All provisional SC members are screened in writing and in a conﬁdential group discussion about possible conﬂicts of interest. For this purpose, a "conﬂict of interest" means any ﬁnancial or other interest which conﬂicts with the individual’s service because it could signiﬁcantly impair the individual's objectivity or could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization. The term "conﬂict of interest" is beyond individual bias. There must be an interest, ordinarily ﬁnancial, that could influence the work of the SC or that could be directly affected by the work of the SC, for an individual to be disqualified from serving. Except for a rare situation in which CCST and the Program Committee determine that a conﬂict of interest is unavoidable and promptly and publicly disclose the conﬂict of interest, no individual will be appointed to serve (or continue to serve) on a SC used in the development of studies while having a conﬂict of interest relevant to the required functions.
SC members and authors continue to be screened for conﬂict of interest at regular intervals throughout the life of the committee. (In addition to the SC and Authors, co-authors, peer reviewers and CCST staff working on each project are also screened for COI).
Point of View
Point of View
A point of view or bias is not necessarily a conﬂict of interest. SC members are expected to have points of view, and CCST attempts to balance these points of view in a way deemed appropriate for the task. SC members are asked to consider respectfully the viewpoints of other members, to reﬂect their own views rather than be a representative of any organization, and to base their scientiﬁc ﬁndings and conclusions on the evidence. Each SC member has the right to issue a dissenting opinion to the study if he or she disagrees with the consensus of the other members. COIs are updated throughout the study process to capture any new or updated information and to ensure a continued lack of conflicts.
Membership in CCST is taken into account in SC selection. The inclusion of women, minorities, and young professionals are additional considerations.
Specific steps in the committee selection and approval process are as follows:
Staff solicit an extensive number of suggestions for potential committee members from a wide range of sources, then recommend a slate of nominees. Nominees are reviewed and approved at several levels within CCST.
A provisional slate is then approved by the Program Committee of CCST's Board. The provisional committee members complete background information and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. The committee balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held at the first committee meeting. Any conflicts of interest or issues of committee balance and expertise are investigated; changes to the committee are proposed and finalized.
The Program Committee of CCST's Board formally approves the committee. Committee members continue to be screened for conflict of interest throughout the life of the committee.
Committee Members' Bios
Jennifer Montgomery Chair
Steering Committee Chair
Private Industry, County and State Governance
Jennifer Montgomery is retired from private industry, County and State Governance. She has experience in sales, government operations, as an elected official and as an appointee focusing on forest health and fire reduction management. She previously served as Director of the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force from Apr 2019 - Jul 2020. Prior to that she was a Placer County Supervisor for more than 10 years.
Adam Kochanski PhD
San José State University
Dr. Adam Kochanski is an assistant professor working at the San José State University as part of the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center. He received his M.Eng in Chemical Engineering and MBA from Technical University of Lodz (Poland) and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno. His main research interests include fire-atmosphere interactions including air quality impacts of wildland fires. He is a modeler with extensive experience in running numerical simulations of fire, smoke, and regional climate on high-performance computing platforms. He is a co-developer of the coupled fire-atmosphere model WRF-SFIRE, the integrated fire and air quality system WRF-SFIRE-CHEM, as well as the fire forecasting system WRFX. He is one the modeling leads for the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE), a member of the Rocky Mountain Center for Fire-Weather Intelligence (RMC) steering committee and an author of over 30 scientific publications.
Heidi Huber-Stearns PhD
Assistant Research Professor
University of Oregon
Heidi Huber-Stearns is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Oregon, focusing on natural resource policy and governance, primarily on public lands. She has a background in watershed investment programs, cross-boundary work and social science aspects of ecosystem services. She also is Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the University of Oregon, and Associate Director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP) within the institute. EWP is an applied research and technical assistance program built on the fundamental belief that ecology, economy, and governance are intimately interconnected. EWP focuses on providing applied research, technical assistance, policy education, community resources, publications, and student experiences.
Joshua Graff Zivin PhD
Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations
University of California, San Diego
Graff Zivin is an economist whose broad research interests include the environment, health, development, and innovation economics. He has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics in top economic, policy and science journals. Much of his current work is focused on three distinct areas of research: the relationship between the environment, health and human capital, the economics of innovation and productivity, and the design of health interventions and their economic impacts.
Professor Graff Zivin received both his Ph.D. and M.S. from UC Berkeley and a B.A. from Rutgers University. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 2008, he spent 11 years on the faculty at Columbia University, where he served as professor of economics in the Mailman School of Public Health and the School of International and Public Affairs and directed the Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development. From 2004-05, Graff Zivin served as Senior Economist for Health and the Environment on the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Jun Wu PhD
Professor and Graduate Director of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
University of California, Irvine
Dr. Jun Wu is Professor and Graduate Director of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Program in Public Health at UC-Irvine. She received her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University, China in 1997, M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University in 2000, and Ph.D. degree in Environmental Health from University of California, Los Angeles in 2004.
Dr. Wu's interests focus on population-based research of environmental exposure assessment, environmental epidemiology, and environmental health disparity. She has extensive experience and knowledge in examining the influences of various environmental exposures (e.g. air pollution, climate, and built environment such as green space, neighborhood resources, walkability) on reproductive outcomes (e.g. maternal and fetal health), children's health, and other health endpoints. She also has strong interest in research on environmental justice and environmental health disparity, particularly working in partner with communities.
Forest and Natural Resources Advisor for Plumas, Sierra, and Lassen counties
University of California Cooperative Extension
Ryan Tompkins is the UC Cooperative Extension Forest and Natural Resources Advisor for Plumas, Sierra, and Lassen counties and is a California Registered Professional Forester (No. 3108). His research interests include forest & fire ecology and management in the Sierra Nevada, silviculture for ecological restoration, and post-fire reforestation. His 18 year federal career included working as a forester and certified silviculturist with the USDA Forest Service and working in the Fire Effects program at the National Park Service. When he's not thinking about forested landscapes, he might be helping firewise communities or just enjoying a quiet moment in the Sierra Nevada backcountry.
Teresa Feo PhD
Senior Science Officer
California Council on Science and Technology (CCST)
Teresa Feo, Ph.D is a Senior Science Officer at the California Council of Science and Technology (CCST), where she contributes to the delivery of CCST’s science services, including peer-reviewed reports and expert briefings, and to CCST’s work engaging the philanthropic community. Teresa is committed to forming connections between scientists and policymakers on a wide range of issues impacting the state of California. Prior to joining CCST, Teresa was a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the California State Senate Office of Research where she provided research and analysis on a broad range of policy topics including natural resources, environmental quality, health, veterans’ affairs, and professional licensing boards.
Teresa received her Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University and her BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. Her scientific research explores the natural history and functional morphology of birds including how birds use their feathers to fly, make sounds, and make colors. After completing her dissertation, Teresa was an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Teresa is currently a Research Associate with the Bird Division at the NMNH and continues to publish scientific research on birds in her spare time.
Kim Quesnel Seipp PhD
Washington State Program Director and Conservation Finance Research Director
Blue Forest Conservation
Kim Quesnel Seipp, PhD is the Washington State Program Director and Conservation Finance Research Director at Blue Forest. As a program director, she leads conservation finance efforts across Washington including the development of Forest Resilience Bond projects, opportunities to deploy projects in new ecosystems, and strategic growth and long-term planning. She also leads Blue Forest’s conservation finance research program and community building while providing scientific support to projects and developing science communication tools.
Kim received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, an M.S. in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, both from Stanford University. Having grown up in Truckee in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Kim loves spending time outdoors. She is an avid mountain biker and spends as many weekends as she can skiing, camping, and traveling to new places.
The process of peer review is the cornerstone of the research evaluation process in the physical sciences, life sciences and engineering.
All CCST reports are peer reviewed using guidelines and processes established by CCST to assure the highest scientific and technical standards. Guidelines are similar to those of the National Academy of Sciences, adapted to be appropriate for California.