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MCN's Marysel Pagán Santana: Devoted to Serve Climate-Impacted Workers, Mobilizing Rural Puerto Rican Communities to Protect the Most Vulnerable

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MCN's Marysel Pagán Santana: Devoted to Serve Climate-Impacted Workers, Mobilizing Rural Puerto Rican Communities to Protect the Most Vulnerable

Yesterday, 140 people from across the country joined an American Public Health Association (APHA) virtual meeting to celebrate worker health and safety advocates. And we at MCN excitedly watched  Marysel Pagán Santana, DrPH, MS, the Senior Program Manager in MCN’s Puerto Rico office, receive the Lorin Kerr Award.

“Marysel Pagán Santana has devoted her career to improve worker health and safety, particularly those impacted by the climate crisis and public health emergencies in Puerto Rico,” noted Amy Liebman, MCN’s Director of Environmental and Occupational Health. “This well-deserved award recognizes Marysel’s unwavering commitment to workers."

The Lorin Kerr Award recognizes a new activist for sustained and outstanding efforts and dedication to improve the lives of workers. The APHA award is typically presented during an Occupational Safety and Health section luncheon during the APHA annual conference. Because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the award was presented virtually, which produced the unintended effect that over a dozen of Dr. Pagán Santana's MCN colleagues in Puerto Rico, Maryland, Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere were able to join in the celebration.

During her three years at MCN thus far, Dr. Pagán Santana has spearheaded a highly successful community mobilization effort to ensure the most vulnerable in rural communities in Puerto Rico are woven into local emergency plans. As climate change progresses, such plans play an important role in preparing for equitable responses to disasters.

"As a trained industrial hygienist and doctor of public health, Marysel is systematic and scientific in her work. And she brings that knowledge to the community and to workers in an easily understood way, always with the goal of protecting the most vulnerable,” said Liebman as she introduced Dr. Pagán Santana for the award. "As a Borinquen, Marysel is consistently confronted personally and professionally with one public health crisis after the other. These include the brutal economic policies of the US mainland, the climate crisis and its resulting natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria, earthquakes, and now COVID-19. At each turn she fights the good fight.”

You can read Dr. Pagán Santana's acceptance speech in its entirety, in English and Spanish.

Learn more about some of the work coming out of MCN's Puerto Rico office in the following articles:



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