HERE Center

Health & Hazards Project

Health & Hazards in the San Fernando Valley

The Health and Hazards Project focuses on the San Fernando Valley (SFV) and consists of an interdisciplinary group of CSUN faculty members, students, community activists, and community organizations. One objective is to provide a basic resource about local healthcare providers, policy-makers, researchers, and activists.

Mapping where health hazards are and examining inequities is key to our central purpose; mapping can serve as an important research and dissemination tool. We also keep in mind that health exists in a context; we need to measure it and understand its consequences for all people.

San Fernando Valley Mountain View

Toxic Tour

As this umbrella project takes on various directions, we are developing Toxic Tours, Virtual Tours, and more. Our first tour provides an overview of the various environmental burdens in the Valley affecting human communities. Future Toxic Tours will focus on HERE Center partners, specific toxic sites, and environmental hazards, all highlighting the health hazards posed to humans.If you are interested in learning more about the toxic tour and have a suggestion for a particular hazard or neighborhood affecting the Valley, please email


Natural Gas

Natural gas is an important hazard in the Valley when considering the Aliso Canyon well of SoCal Gas’ well SS-25, as well as an ongoing leak at LADWP Sun Valley generating station. Natural gas has as number of negative human health effects you can learn more about below.


The Invisible Dangers Of Natural Gas

A community panel discussion about natural gas as a hazard to human and environmental health.

Panelists: Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, Andrew Krowne, Graciela Jimenez, Noemi Romo, Angelica Duenas
Hosted By: Hayley Diep and Hanli Su

April 8, 2021
4:00PM - 5:15PM PST
View Facebook Event Page

**Sponsored by APHA, Institute for Sustainability, and CSUN’s HERE Center and featuring key stakeholders from two environmental disasters: Aliso Canyon and Sun Valley.

the invisible danger of natural gas virtual event social media flyer


The invisible Dangers Of Natural Gas

Understand how natural gas, such as methane, impacts human and planetary health.

Watch the recorded panel here

Actions Taken And To Be Taken

Actions taken and to be taken, to address the issue of how Natural Gas acts as a health and planetary hazard.


Alisa canyon gas blowout YouTube thumbnail

Food & Water Watch Interview

What are the human health implications of the Aliso Canyon blowout?

Alisa canyon gas blowout YouTube thumbnail

Food & Water Watch Interview

Organization's Mission


Local and indigenous knowledge

There are important health assets in the Valley despite the abundance of hazards which we highlight through an endeavor that uplifts the multiple opportunities for health and well-being as it intersects with culture and the environment. Local ecological knowledge (LEK), a set of knowledge, beliefs, and practices regarding ecological relationships gained through personal observation and interaction with local ecosystems, needs to be actively shared to be maintained especially with significant threat factors including migration, global socioeconomic and environmental-ecological processes. At California State University, Northridge (CSUN) we develop a project seeks to uncover the untapped wealth of LEK within CSUN and the San Fernando Valley (Valley).

The following events were part of an inaugural set of events bringing together community stakeholders, indigenous and local experts, CSUN students and community titled Cultivating Local and Indigenous Knowledge- co-discovery of environmental resilience in our students and surrounding communities.


Digital Technologies facilitate the production of 21st century perspectives on the Indigenous Oaxacan genetic modification of corn through the ecosystem known as “milpa.” In this presentation, two Oaxacan collaborators working with Professor Flores-Marcial and CSUN students present an updated and refreshed lexicon through visuals and vocabulary that credits the thirteen thousand year old development of corn in its most relevant form. .


the invisible danger of natural gas virtual event social media flyer
the invisible danger of natural gas virtual event social media flyer



Two Zapotec collaborators, a chemist and a photographer document the social life around the tortilla. The different colored maize, how each is utilized in the preparation of specific foods made out of corn, the chemical process of nixtamalization and the ways in which Indigenous community members share this knowledge through social media. 



Danette Archer has been a lifelong gardener and food activist advocating for sharing the wealth of local knowledge and practices related to plants for food, health in the culturally diverse island of Trinidad. She has actively learned from local indigenous knowledge experts while also engaging in various food gardening programs. We will learn how she has engaged in home and community gardening including local and non-local methods since COVID restrictions which have significantly affected the food environment in Trinidad.

the invisible danger of natural gas virtual event social media flyer
the invisible danger of natural gas virtual event social media flyer


Indigenous communities in the US and around the world are at the forefront of efforts to develop mitigation strategies related to climate change, enhance biodiversity, and reimagine local ecological landscapes. Our group of traditional ecological knowledge experts will share their recent work and perspectives advancing tribal food sovereignty, mapping Native landscapes, and moving beyond land acknowledgments. In addition to their talks, our event will include a native planting workshop and activity facilitated by the Institute for Sustainability.




Coalition Members:


  • Alexandra Nagy, Food and Water Watch (California director, Aliso Canyon)
  • Breathe Southern California (air pollution expertise)
  • Cecilia Mejia, One Degree (community asset mapping)
  • Anthony Ortiz-Luis, Valley Care Community Consortium (SFV Needs Assessments)

Coalition Members:

CSU Northridge

  • Carrie Saetermoe, HERE Center and Psychology
  • Lisa Chaudhari, HERE Center, CSUN Sustainability and Health Sciences
  • Steve Graves, Geography
  • Josey Vargas, HERE Center Postdoctoral Fellow
food and water watch logovalley care consortium logobreathe la logoCSUN sustainability logo
one degree logohere center logohere center logo

Student Opportunities

  • Students who are skilled in mapping and GIS can join the consortium as cartographers and geographers.
  • Students who are interested in learning how to take action can attend meetings, or take part in trainings and report back to the general group for opportunities to conduct research or support meeting health equity in the community.
  • Students who are ethnographers or community engaged can join our depth research team.

Faculty Opportunities

  • Faculty who are mapping the San Fernando Valley are welcome to join us to add their input.
  • Faculty who are evaluating social and environmental determinants of health in the San Fernando Valley are welcome to join us.
  • Faculty who have existing projects are welcome to apply to the HERE Center as a HERE Center Partner.

Community Partner Opportunities

  • Community activists and organizations are encouraged to provide additional information for maps.
  • Community activists and organizations are encouraged to bring CSUN faculty, staff, and students into local activism to improve our health environment.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Lisa Chaudhari, HERE Center Co-Director,