Paulsboro PFAS Health Study

Drinking Water and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Meet the Team

Robert Laumbach M.D., M.P.H., C.I.H., Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rutgers School of Public Health.


Role on the project: Principal Investigator.


In his role as the leader of the Paulsboro PFAS health project, Rob will be responsible for the overall direction and activities of the project. As a physician and a scientist at Rutgers for over 20 years, Rob has been working to learn more about how the environment affects people’s health.


The overall goal of his work is to develop and use this knowledge to help communities to improve their health and well-being when they have been affected by many different environmental stressors. The focus of his work has been on air pollution and water pollution. Rob believes that the people who make up communities are the most valuable and important asset for healthier and more livable communities. He is eager to receive community advice and feedback to strengthen the project, and to ensure that it is meeting community needs. Rob can be reached at any time at 908-436-8411 (cell) or

Robert Laumbach, MD, MPH, CIH

Principal Investigator

Shahnaz Alimokhtari is the Project Manager for the Paulsboro PFAS Health Study.


She brings over 25 years of experience across more than 35 projects in the NJ-NY-PA region, in both project management and field supervision roles, to this study.


Her experience is primarily focused on working with individuals and groups in small communities to understand the implications of environmental exposure on community well-being.


In applying exposure sciences to nearby subpopulations, she hopes to help local communities like her own.


Prior to her work with the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Shahnaz studied Environmental and Human Exposure Sciences at Rutgers University. Shahnaz’s role in the study planning and supervising the office/field activities within the framework of Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), following the lead of the Principal Investigator, (Rob Laumbach)


Shahnaz can be reached at  or 848-445-1144.

Shahnaz Alimokhtari

Project Manager

Kathy Black is a Senior Research Associate at the Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.


Kathy’s research focused on the effects of children’s activities on their exposures to pesticides. Currently she manages clinical research for a wide range of environmental health studies. In this role, Kathy obtains Rutgers University approval for all human research studies, making sure they meet strict ethical and safety standards.


Kathy has worked with a wide range of study participants including autistic children, volunteer firefighters, and World Trade Center responders. She previously worked on the Paulsboro Blood Test Survey, collecting PFAS blood test results and health information from Paulsboro residents. 


Kathy earned a Master’s in Public Health – Environmental Health from the Rutgers School of Public Health (then UMDNJ) and a PhD in Environmental Science from Rutgers University.


Kathy can be reached via email at or 848-445-6049.

Kathy Black

Senior Research Associate

Kerry Margaret Butch is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease at Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. Kerry’s role in the Paulsboro PFAS Health Study is to facilitate the active involvement of community members, elected officials, and school, civic and faith-based leadership in the study.


Her prior positions include serving as Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, the Urban Project Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, the Executive Director of the Asbury Park Consortium, and a Community Organizer for the Ironbound Community Corporation and the Ironbound Committee Against Toxic Waste. Notably, she produced the award-winning documentary entitled, “Greetings from Asbury Park” shown throughout the country and on PBS and assembled the same crew to create “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election” for the LWVNJ.


Kerry can be reached via cell at 732-982-6942 (cell) or

Kerry Margaret Butch


Keith Cooper is a Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and the chair of the External Advisory Board for the PFAS Health Study.


His main area of expertise is the mechanisms and effects of chemicals on humans and other organisms. He has over 40 years of experience examining chemical impacts, working with state/federal agencies, and explaining the effects of chemicals to individuals and communities. His role is to advise and make suggestions on the science and possible areas of further study.


Dr. Cooper earned his Ph.D. in 1979 in Comparative Pathology from the University of Rhode Island and a MS in Toxicology 1981 from Thomas Jefferson University.  He has been at Rutgers since 1981 and served as a liaison between many groups examining chemicals of human health and ecological concerns.


Keith can be reached at

Keith Cooper


Nancy Fiedler is a clinical psychologist and has been involved in numerous community based projects as member of EOHSI.  Her work includes the health effects of chemical exposures encountered in urban and farm communities and in the workplace.  She is a Professor in the School of Public Health with over 35 years of experience as a psychologist evaluating the impact of the environment on neurologic function and mental health.


Dr. Fiedler is responsible for evaluating the neurodevelopmental effects of exposure to PFAS among the children of Paulsboro.  She has worked in several New Jersey communities where chemical exposures are prevalent and looks forward to working with the Paulsboro residents to help understand the impacts of PFAS exposure. 


Nancy can be reached at

Nancy Fiedler


Judith Graber is an occupational and environmental epidemiologist who earned her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois, School of Public Health in 2012, after 15 years of working in the public sector at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maine Bureau of Health (now Maine CDC). 


Dr. Graber’s research is focused on the interactive roles of occupational exposures including Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and behaviors risk factors (such as tobacco use and obesity) on health outcomes including cancer and cardiovascular disease. She is the Principal investigator of the New Jersey Firefighter Cancer Assessment and Prevention Study (CAPS), a community-based participatory research project developed with New Jersey volunteer firefighters with the long-term goal of reducing cancer among firefighters and improving firefighter health. Dr. Graber and her colleagues at EOHSI, including Dr. Laubach and Kerry Butch, conducted the first health study of PFAS in Paulsboro. This preliminary study enrolled 196 Paulsboro residents and explored exposure to perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and other PFAS resulting from the industrial contamination of the water supply.  Since 2016, I have also been a member of the New Jersey Department of Health Bio-monitoring Commission and in that role contributed to the development and monitoring of studies to assess PFAS contamination in NJ. 


Judith can be reached at


Judith Graber




Pam Ohman Strickland is a faculty level statistician within the Rutgers School of Public Health. She is interested in the analysis of data uncovering the potential impact of pollutants on the health of communities, especially in areas that have experienced higher than normal levels of exposure. Having mentored students from all corners of New Jersey she has a particular interest in ensuring the health of communities within our state. She has evaluated effects of pollution across the state including in Camden, Paulsboro, and the Newark with volunteers who are students, school cross guards, firefighters, first responders, physicians, and other community members.


Dr. Pam Ohman Strickland earned her doctorate degree in Statistics from Cornell University in 1997, worked at University of Florida for four years, and has worked at Rutgers (formerly UMDNJ) for the last twenty years, teaching and conducting research in environmental and public health.


Pam can be reached at

Pam Ohman Strickland


For more information call or email:


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