Leadership & Committees

The Planetary Health COE summons the impressive resources of all ten UC campuses and two national laboratories, as well as the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR), the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), and the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS), to guide activities, identify strategic opportunities, and overcome challenges.


David Lopez-Carr, PhD

UC Santa Barbara

David Lopez-Carr has lived, worked, and traveled in over 70 countries and speaks Spanish, as well as some Portuguese, Italian, French, and very rudimentary Q'eqchi Maya. His research focuses on links among population, health, rural development, agriculture, and marine and forest resource use and conservation through ongoing projects in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He has authored over 130 scientific publications and along with colleagues and students has secured several millions of dollars in funding from over 50 fellowships, grants, and awards from NASA, NSF, NIH, the Mellon and Fulbright Foundations, and numerous other sources. He is a Fellow of the NAS' Kavli Frontiers of Science and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Lopez-Carr is a former Associate Director for the UCGHI Center of Expertise on Migration and Health and former Director of UC Santa Barbara's Latin American and Iberian Studies, where he was awarded outstanding graduate mentor. During 2015-15, He chaired the UC Faculty Senate Committee on Affirmative Action, Equity, and Diversity (UCAAD) and remains on several related committees in which he has helped author various plans, proposals and responses regarding policy as it relates to diversity and equity in higher education across the UCs.

  • Professor of geography
  • Director, UCSB Human-Environment Dynamics Lab
  • Lead, Population, Health¬†and Environment research group, Broom Center for Demography

Woutrina Smith, DVM, MPVM, PhD

UC Davis

Woutrina A. Smith, originally from Alaska, studied at Pomona College and then earned her DVM, MPVM, and PhD degrees from UC Davis. Her research program utilizes a One Health approach locally and globally to bring together professionals and stakeholders across disciplines spanning the natural and social sciences. Dr. Smith has active research projects in Africa and Asia, as well as in California, where multidisciplinary teams work together to solve complex health problem in innovative ways. Dr. Smith has received funding from diverse sources including the National Institutes of Health, the US Agency for International Development, the US Department of Defense, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As capacity lead for the global USAID Predict Program for the past seven years, Dr. Smith works with scientists and stakeholders in 30 countries to help build local capabilities to conduct health surveillance in animal and human populations at key interfaces where new diseases are likely to emerge. She was involved in the UCGHI One Health Center of Expertise and has made linkages with all ten UC campuses, the UC national laboratories, and many international partner institutions. She teaches in the professional DVM, graduate, and undergraduate programs, where she brings her field and laboratory research experiences into the classroom to provide real world context.

  • Professor of infectious disease epidemiology School of Veterinary Medicine

Deputy Directors

Federico Castillo, PhD

Deputy Director, UC Berkeley

Nancy Suski, PhD

Deputy Director, LLNL

Samantha Ying, PhD

Deputy Director, UC Riverside


The COE is organized into three working groups corresponding to the vast majority of global mortality. These working groups are working towards solutions from these threats to human and animal health and link the solutions to our five research goals.

Infectious diseases

Woutrina Smith, lead

Food and nutrition-related illness and death

David Lopez-Carr, lead

Environmental exposure-related diseases, illness and death

Samantha Ying, lead