Nelzair Vianna Spotlights Ana Gonzalez Guerrero
By Nelzair Vianna, Travel Scholar and Student Ambassador at the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting
I am a Researcher at FIOCRUZ — Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil. My first introduction to the field of planetary health was at the 2018 Planetary Health Annual Meeting at University of Edinburgh, thanks to an opportunity provided by the Wellcome Trust. I was very happy when I received the email from the planetary health team announcing my participation in the student ambassador program!
I was even more excited to meet my mentor and learn more about her career. Her name is Ana Gonzalez Guerrero, Co-Founder and Managing Director at the Youth Climate Lab, which develops and implements resources needed to accelerate planetary health impact by empowering youth in climate entrepreneurship and policy. She has a degree in Environment and Business and also leads an Innovation Fund through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Partnership for Municipal Innovation in Local Economic Development. She helps young people to translate their green ideas into business plans by channeling their creativity and ambition toward green growth solutions that promote sustainability as a socio-economic enabler.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to discuss the theme of youth engagement, policy, and entrepreneurship at the Planetary Health Annual Meeting. I believe that change is possible through initiatives that stimulate new ideas and policymakers worldwide, and I was very inspired by Ana’s empowerment of youth in particular! We have a big challenge of translating scientific evidence for decision-making and future generations, as well as bridging the gap between the private and public sectors. I have a particular interest in this approach because I believe that the solutions to fight climate crisis depend on the engagement of young people, but unfortunately missing initiatives and policies that promote this in developing countries.
I am very excited about becoming a planetary health professional because my research involves environmental health, risk analysis on air pollution, as well as education, citizen-science, and public engagement. I loved that discussions at the Annual Meeting highlighted the complexities and transdisciplinarity of global health and considered different practices and populations, plus new perspectives about entrepreneurship. I was able to establish relationships with not only Ana, but researchers around the world working in this field, while developing and building leadership and organizational skills. I am very happy to now be a part of a network of planetary health ambassadors, made up of individuals from a variety of academic interests, ages, and nationalities. I was also grateful to participate in the speaker-ambassador lunch, where I met people from other countries and learned about their experiences.
After the 2019 Annual Meeting, my plan is to publicize the planetary health field in my country and continue developing studies and projects for engaging new students. I will develop, organize, and promote planetary health activities in my region, include my institution and others of the city and my country. In conclusion, as an ambassador, I also will adopt the keyword “planetary health” in all my manuscripts and lectures, speak to the director and other researchers at my organization. Thank you so much Planetary Health Alliance for the travel scholarship that made it possible and for inspire-me!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Planetary Health Alliance or its members.