Global Initiatives Director of Climate Imperative
Bakeyah S. Nelson, Ph.D. is Global Initiatives Director of Climate Imperative, an Energy Innovation project to cut carbon emissions at the speed and scale needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Dr. Nelson has a diverse background in public health and public policy and has worked to reduce health inequities in Houston communities for 15 years. She previously served as the Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston, a research-based nonprofit organization working to reduce the public health impacts of air pollution and advance environmental justice in the Houston Region. Before that, she served in the Office of Policy and Planning for Harris County Public Health, where she was responsible for monitoring community health status, as well as planning and implementing community health initiatives to improve health equity.
Dr. Nelson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and was named the 2020 Texas Energy Summit’s Clean Air Champion of the Year in 2020. In 2019, she was selected as one of the Aspen Institute’s Health Scholars for the Aspen Ideas Festival, and is a Senior Fellow of Class XLVI of the American Leadership Forum. In 2018, Dr. Nelson was honored as one of the Texas Organizing Project’s Community Champions. She was a 2012 National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Model Practice Award Recipient for her environmental equity work with a local Houston community to improve and advance environmental justice.
Dr. Nelson currently serves on a number of committees including the Hive Fund Participatory Working Group, the Advisory Committee for the Environmental Integrity Project’s Center for Applied Environmental Science, the Advisory Board for the Gulf Coast Center for Precision Health, and on the board of the National Recreation Foundation. She is also one of the founding members of the New Giving Collective, a giving circle established in 2017 to serve as a vehicle to support and respond to the needs of the Black community.
Dr. Nelson earned her B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in applied sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Ph.D. in public policy also from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.