Edy Yong Kim

In 1997, after graduating magna cum laude in Biochemistry from Harvard College, Edy moved to St. Louis to be a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. In 1998, Edy entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University School of Medicine (M.D./Ph.D. degrees). Edy started the Public Health Interest Group and the Washington University Med Plunge (WUMP), which immerses new medical students in public health and community outreach. As class president, Edy founded Earthdocs, which successfully lobbied for recycling at the medical school.

In 2000, Edy joined Health and Environmental Justice—St. Louis (HEJ), formerly known as the Medical Waste Incinerator Group. With Edy’s help, HEJ built, trained and empowered a coalition of neighbors, nonprofits, physicians and members of the Environmental Clinic at the Washington University School of Law to create a diverse, community-based, citizens environmental group. HEJ fought the environmental injustice of a medical waste incinerator in a low-income and high-minority neighborhood in North St. Louis. As part of this campaign, Edy had the unique experience of picketing his own hospital. HEJ’s efforts led the Board of Aldermen to pass legislation in 2002 to end medical waste incineration in St. Louis city. Now, HEJ targets the epidemic of lead poisoning in St. Louis, with Edy serving as Secretary on HEJ’s Board of Directors.

Edy plans to complete his thesis on the immunology of asthma in the lab of Mike Holtzman, M.D., before graduating in 2006. He then plans to pursue a residency and fellowship in either internal medicine, pediatrics or neurology. He hopes to create a life that balances academic medicine, research, public health activism, the arts, family and watching University of Michigan football.

According to nominator Kathleen Logan-Smith, Edy “exhibits a commitment to grassroots, community-based environmental decision making and he works to make that vision a reality. The past four years have had their hardships inherent in the development of a grassroots group, and we at HEJ feel that we would not have celebrated as many victories and would not have grown without his constant, steady guidance, his participation and his assistance raising much needed funds.”