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A look back on HHRA's achievements in 2021.

Highlights of 2021

Jan 4th, 2022
A look back on HHRA's achievements in 2021.

The Heartland Health Research Alliance’s inaugural year was 2021, and our team has been working nonstop to grow our efforts in support of public and environmental health.  Our research publications have attracted global media attention. Our science continues to procure innovative findings critical for changing policy to better human, farming and environmental health. And our outreach efforts are helping raise educated awareness about the chemicals that surround us, and the means of safeguarding our families. While we continue moving the dial in 2022, here are some of our highlights of the past year:

The Heartland Study

Our flagship project, The Heartland Study, enrolled 124 new participants in 2021, and 106 of the women enrolled in our clinical research gave birth. Welcome, tiny new Midwesterners! We also underwent some significant behind-the-scenes housekeeping to improve operations and grow our clinical research team. 


In 2021, HHRA celebrated publication of multiple peer-reviewed papers. Published in Environmental Health journal, one commentary, “Novel strategies and new tools to curtail the health effects of pesticides” and coordinating op-eds achieved high profile earned media, including front page of The Hill, placement in Environmental Health News, The Cap Times and Indy Star. We launched a coordinating video series called “HHRA Talks to the Experts” on our new YouTube channel

Here is the comprehensive list of publications by the HHRA alliance in 2021: 

Heartland Stories Radio

This year, we celebrated the production of 50 Heartland Stories Radio episodes! Hosted by producer and organic food pioneer Theresa Marquez, the weekly episodes explore and amplify innovative approaches to science storytelling focused on the farming practices and policies behind our broken food system and how to make healthful changes for current and future generations.   

Top streamed in 2021 by category:

 Top 3 regenerative ag

  1. Audrey Tran Lam: Reducing Urban Pesticides in Iowa
  2. Robyn O’Brien: Healthy Soil, Capital and Farming
  3. Tom Philpott: The American Way of Farming

Top 3 intersectional agriculture and food justice

  1. Albie Miles: Transforming Hawaii’s Food System by Empowering Native Hawaiian Youth
  2. Leah Penniman: Farming While Black
  3. Dr. Shakara Tyler: Reclaiming the Ancestral Roots of Black Farming

Top 3 public health 

  1. John Ikerd: Our Broken Industrial Food System
  2. Dr. Bruce Lanphear: The Negative Impact of Toxic Chemicals On Our Health
  3. Nse Witherspoon: One Mom’s Passion and Career: Protecting Children’s Health

Top 3 food and nutrition

  1. Chef Ann Cooper: School Lunches and Feeding Our Children During Covid 19
  2. Dr. Rupa Marya and Raj Patel: “Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice”
  3. Leonardo Trasande: “Sicker, Fatter, Poorer”: Understanding Endocrine Disruptors

Top 5 most streamed HSR episodes (overall) of 2021: 

  1. Dr. Phil Landrigan, “How Pesticides Are Threatening Children’s Health”
  2. Odessa Piper, “The Hidden Magic in Food”
  3. Marlaina Freisthler, “The Heartland Study: The Impact of Herbicides on Mother and Infant Health”
  4. Kelly Ryerson, “Becoming Glyphosate Girl”
  5. Dr. Michelle Perro, “Why Our Children Get Sicker and the Link Between Gut Health and Pesticides”

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