Pooja Sarin Tandon

PhD, Health Director

Dr. Pooja Sarin Tandon is a general pediatrician and health researcher who has dedicated her career to advancing children’s health by promoting healthy behaviors and reducing disparities. In particular, her work has focused on play equity (“play for all children”), and promoting access to physical activity and outdoor recreation. In addition to her role at TPL, she is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, Adjunct Associate Professor at UW’s School of Public Health, and a researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Pooja was the senior author of a landmark 2021 paper in the journal Pediatrics, on the relationship between nature contact and children’s health, and has published numerous other research papers including a study on the correlation between park access and mental health among parents and children during the COVID-19 pandemic, and synthesis of research on nature-based engagement by Latinos in the United States. Her volunteer work includes serving on the Board of Islandwood, a leading environmental education center here in the Pacific Northwest and on Washington state’s Parks Rx Legislative Task Force, where she worked towards the development of a pilot statewide “Parks Prescription” program. Dr. Tandon also co-founded the Climate Change CARE Committee for the Department of Pediatrics Committee at the University of Washington School of Medicine and led her Division’s Diversity in Hiring working group. Her powerful TEDx talk titled “The Power of Belonging in Nature” underscores her commitment to ensuring that every individual has the right to play, learn, and thrive in the outdoors.

Pooja was born in India, moved to the U.S. as a child, attended college and medical school at Brown University, trained in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center, and earned her Master of Public Health degree at UW. While leading Trust for Public Land’s Health Initiative, Pooja continues her work at the University of Washington School of Medicine and research initiatives supported by various funders including the National Institutes of Health, all of which will complement her contributions as TPL’s Health Director.