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Winona Victery, Ph.D.

Senior Science Policy Advisor

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9

San Francisco, CA 94105


Winona Victery has a diverse educational and professional career. Through the EPHLI Fellowship, Winona benefited from understanding of my personal style, change style, and the coaching and mentoring, conflict management. She is helping to plan a systems approach to examine ecosystem and human condition when facing decisions related to climate change. EPA and CDC have initiated a Systems Thinking Action Plan for Austin, TX and if possible the Central Valley of California. The collaborators formed a STAT (Systems Thinking Action Team) to develop a flexible model to include extreme weather events in local areas to the ecosystems and the potential for health impacts.


Winona received the B.S. degree at Rice University in Biology, M.S. in Endocrinology (Reproductive Physiology) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Winona spent almost 30 years in the research field for medically-related programs. Her primary research is in the field of lead exposure on physiologic functions, such as cardiovascular, endocrine, and renal systems. Research was at the U of M, NIEHS, and EPA. Toxicology became the primary focus and she received a Board certification by the American Board of Toxicology. She joined EPA in 1986 at the National Center for Environmental Assessment in Research Triangle Park, NC. Her role was to develop risk assessment evaluations of hazardous air pollutants for chemicals such as chromium, cadmium, and other compounds.


In 1989, on a whim, she applied for and was selected to be an Office of Research and Development Regional Scientist for EPA Region 9 office in San Francisco. The detail was for two years developing regional clients for the Office of Research and Development. Her position has continued in various forms for over 20 years funded by the EPA Regional Office. She serves on internal climate change workgroups, national risk assessment and science policy workgroups, and she interacts with universities and organizations that are related to the biological and chemical stressors for human and ecological health. Her service has been acknowledged by three Bronze Medals and a Silver Medal. She has worked with the LAX Airport to plan a source apportionment and air quality research project that is still ongoing after more than 10 years.


She has volunteered at the International Wild Bird Research and Rehabilitation Center, located near her home in Cordelia, CA. These are all aquatic birds, many oil-exposed from other wildlife rehabilitation agencies. Winona lives in Green Valley just 40 miles NE of San Francisco.


Leadership Development Opportunities

During the year 2011, I felt like a sponge absorbing so many things. I knew my MBTI—it changed a little bit, I knew nothing about the Public Health Essential Services, or anything about systems thinking. My change style indicator of ‘originator’ helped me see how I need to slow down and write out my key thoughts before going into a meeting. This experience of training, mentoring, and problem formulation and execution allowed me realize the importance of natural resources, economic growth patterns intersect with health outcomes. This time has been an opportunity to develop the creative processes and networking to engage both EPA and CDC in ongoing work. The workshop in Austin allowed for equal opportunity for each Austin Team member to think out loud and have an ecological economist begin incorporating a pilot model to include areas of concern in Climate Change in local communities. The initial pilot model is just beginning to take shape; it is much more complex than I can explain or run. The upcoming National Workshop should give us needed discussion on the ability to use this method for further work.


I acknowledge the colleagues who contributed directly to making this vision come to the real world. To each one of you, thank you. Many other people have given their time and thinking on the project. It is my personal goal to keep my vision alive by moving forward in Addressing the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change. It is essential that we build understanding on this serious threat to both the ecological and human well-being. Our economic future requires adjustments in consumption, land use, human population and basic social structure if temperatures continue to increase.


I have had a number of ‘aha moments’ over the course of the year, yielding additional issues for reflection, reading, and discussion. If I work to satisfy needs of others in planning a project, I am more likely to incorporate their needs into my work. We all have a different view of our goals, some are very detail-oriented, step-by-by step, while I tend to skip over this and move into pie in- the –sky future. It has helped me recognize these traits in others and in myself.