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Heather ​Tallis, PhD

Visiting Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
Heather has a passionate drive for solving problems that affect both people and the environment. She uses multidisciplinary approaches to create more equitable and sustainable pathways through some of our most pressing global challenges including climate change, food system transformation and water security.


Heather Tallis has over 15 years of experience providing leadership to research and impact organizations around the world. She led science for The Nature Conservancy that underpins their global conservation agenda now touching down in 70 countries. A believer in collaboration, Heather has founded partnerships, including the Bridge Collaborative and Wicked Econ, that have changed natural resource management policy, directed major funds to sustainable investments, and produced high impact scientific publications. Through the Bridge Collaborative, Heather facilitated agreement on a global agenda for cross-sector action, and an evidence grading standard for evaluating health, development and environment impacts. She also launched and managed a $1 million fund to drive integrated impact and demonstrate how philanthropy can accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Heather’s research and advising with governments, private sector actors, non-profit leaders and foundations in 20 countries has described novel environment-health linkages and designed strategies that can aid both conservation and human health. Her collaborations have advanced landscape management options that can reduce climate change and improve respiratory health in California and India, tick-borne disease control in Kenya, heat stress reduction and cognitive function in Indonesia, reproductive health services in Tanzania, last mile WASH in Latin America and Africa, and livelihood pathways for refugees in Bangladesh and those with opioid addiction in Appalachia. Heather has been appointed to the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Food Systems Innovation and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services nexus assessment. Beyond her science-policy work, Heather is invested in fostering diversity and inclusion, hosting events and speaking widely on the need to shift the face and focus of conservation.

Research Interests

  • Climate change and just transitions
  • Sustainable and healthy food system transformation
  • Sanitation and wastewater treatment for people and nature
  • Behavior change interventions
  • Transdisciplinary evidence synthesis
  • Designing and evaluating multi-impact interventions
  • Conservation and human well-being
  • Systems thinking


  • PhD – University of Washington
  • MSc – University of Otago
  • MS – University of California, Santa Cruz
  • BS – Eckerd College


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