Trust for Public Land Welcomes Dr. Pooja Tandon as New Director of Health
Trust for Public Land (TPL) proudly announces the appointment of Dr. Pooja Sarin Tandon as its new Director of Health. With a stellar track record in academic pediatrics and health research, and a dedication to advancing children’s health through play equity and outdoor recreation, Dr. Tandon is poised to advance TPL’s mission to connect everyone to the outdoors in transformational ways.
Currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Dr. Tandon previously collaborated with TPL in evaluating the impacts of the Tacoma Community Schoolyard’s through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program.
TPL’s Health Initiative, which Dr. Tandon will now lead, is centered on partnering with communities, park practitioners and health professionals to understand and optimize the role of green spaces as cost-effective public health resources to drive mental, physical, and social well-being. Underpinning this focus, TPL’s recently released the report, “The Power of Parks to Promote Health,” revealed that cities with the highest ParkScore®️ rankings are healthier places to live.
“In every park, trail, schoolyard and open space, there lies an opportunity to promote health, reduce disparities, and strengthen communities,” said Dr. Tandon. “Parks are not just spaces; they are lifelines, and I am thrilled to join Trust for Public Land to ensure that every child, family, and community can access and benefit from their essential power.”
Dr. Tandon’s scholarship is recognized nationally. She authored a groundbreaking paper in 2021 on the nexus between access to nature and children’s health. Her powerful TEDx talk, “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.
She earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at Brown University and trained in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She earned her Master of Public Health at the University of Washington.
Her volunteer work includes serving on the Board of Islandwood, a leading environmental education center in the Pacific Northwest, and on a recent 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 at the University of Washington School of Medicine and led her Division’s Diversity in Hiring working group, aligning with two of TPL’s strategic commitments: climate action and equity.
“Dr. Tandon’s blend of expertise in pediatrics and public health, her skill as a health researcher, her commitment to equity, and her deep understanding of the role of nature contact in health and well-being, position her as an invaluable addition to our TPL team,” shared Dr. Howard Frumkin, senior vice president at Trust for Public Land and director of the Land and People Lab. “She truly embodies the best of both worlds—scientific rigor combined with genuine compassion—and her previous collaborations with TPL and groundbreaking research speak volumes about her dedication and alignment for the role of Director of Health. We’re truly honored to have her on board.”
While leading Trust for Public Land’s Health Initiative, Dr. Tandon will continue her work at the University of Washington, including caring for patients and research supported by various funders including the National Institutes of Health, all of which will complement her contributions as TPL’s Health Director.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.