UPHE Board of Directors

Brian Moench, M.D. – Board President

Dr. Moench is a former adjunct faculty member of the University of Utah Honors College, teaching the public health consequences of environmental degradation. He was the former chairman, Dept. of Anesthesia, Holy Cross Hospital and has been in private practice anesthesia at Holy Cross Hospital, LDS Hospital, and Intermountain Medical Center since 1981. Over the last 20 years he has given hundreds of community and academic lectures and power point presentations, written over 145 Op Eds for newspapers throughout the country, lectured at the U. of Utah Medical School on numerous topics, and has helped communities in Utah, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Alaska, Nevada and British Columbia organize opposition to polluting industries. He has been an expert witness and written court briefs for pollution lawsuits, has met with top EPA officials, and was nominated by the Obama Administration at a Washington, DC conference as one of 50 finalists to receive the award “Champion of Change” for his work on the climate crisis. 

He has appeared on national television, on MSNBC and Fox Business Channel, to discuss the relationship between neonatal deaths and pollution from fracking. He has written two books that address environmental contamination and public health, Death by Corporation, the killing of humankind in the age of Monster Corporations, and The Great Brain Robbery- Why Women Have Become Smarter Than Men/Science with an Attitude.

Kirtly Parker Jones, M.D. – Board Vice President

Dr. Jones is Professor Emerita in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology where she has had an academic appointment for the past 33 years. Her undergraduate degree was in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, where she also attended Medical School. Her residency in obstetrics and gynecology and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology were completed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Her clinical and research interests include contraception and family planning, advanced reproductive technology, and menopause. She has been a member of the National Medical Committee for Planned Parenthood and is past Chair of the Association of Reproductive Professionals. She has taught Ethics in Reproductive Medicine in the Honors Program at the University of Utah, as well as teaching reproductive medicine to medical students, residents and physicians. She was awarded the Linda K Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women by the University of Utah, and the Jarcho Distinguished Teaching Award by the University of Utah School of Medicine. In 2013 she was awarded the Calvin and Jeneal Hatch Prize in Teaching by the University of Utah. She has been involved in the administration of her department, medical school, and university and has a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Utah. She is a past President of the Academic Senate at the University of Utah. Dr. Jones shares her life and interests in the environment and the health of the planet with her husband and partner of 40 years, Chris Jones MD, PhD.

Scott Pynes – Board Treasurer

Scott Pynes started his career at Arthur Anderson in 1981. In 1986 he founded a business application software company – Interactive Systems, Inc. which was later renamed to Assist Cornerstone Technologies. The company grew to employ nearly 200 people before it was sold in 2000 to a New York Stock Exchange company. In 2002 he purchased Cactus & Tropicals from its founder – Lorraine Miller. Since then he has expanded the business significantly by opening a second retail location and growing the commercial side of the business. Cactus & Tropicals currently employs over 100 people. He has served on the boards of the Vest Pocket Business Coalition where he was president in 2014 and Local First Utah.

Janice Evans – Board Member

Janice Evans has an extensive career as a media and communications executive and is an expert in all aspects of public relations. She has worked locally and on national and international news and media platforms. Janice served as producer for CBS News, managing technical and editorial crews primarily in the US, but also in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Subjects included: the Reagan White House, US Congress and international economic summits.  She also served in Utah as producer at KUTV and KSL-TV News. Janice claims she joined the UPHE Board in 2014 due to her admiration for her high school student body president, Dr. Brian Moench. However, she is also passionate about helping elevate environmental issues to front page news and cleaning up our air.

John MacFarlane, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Macfarlane is a neurosurgeon currently practicing at Intermountain Medical Center and acting as an adjunct Neurosurgery Faculty Member, Department of Neurosurgery, at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

A graduate of the University of Utah School of Medicine, Dr. Macfarlane completed his neurological surgery residency at the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1996 where he had become the chief neurosurgery resident. He earned his board certification in Neurological Surgery from the American Board of Neurological Surgery in 2002.

A leader among his peers, Dr. Macfarlane was Division Chief of Neurological Surgery at LDS Hospital from (2004-2007) and again at Intermountain Medical Center from (2007-2009), where he continues to serve on the Intermountain Medical Center Neurosurgery Spine Committee Directorship (2007-present). He has served on several other administrative committees including Rocky Mountain Neurosurgical Society executive Committee, Spine Clinical Exception Hardware Committee at Intermountain Healthcare, and the University of Utah Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Dr. Macfarlane’s vast study of the neurological sciences has informed him of the sensitivity of human neurophysiological health. Since becoming a member of UPHE in 2018 he has been actively concerned with the consequences of poor air quality on human neurophysiology, especially in regards to sensitive populations such as children and the elderly.

Richard Kanner, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Kanner has been a UPHE board member since it was founded in 2007. He has represented UPHE by testifying before numerous Utah legislative committees. He also contributes to UPHE by writing letters to the editor and op-eds to the Salt Lake City Tribune and Deseret News. He is currently a Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah. As a Pulmonologist, Dr. Kanner has research interests in the area of chronic lung disease and health effects of air pollution. Dr. Kanner also served on the Utah Department of Air Quality Board from 1988 to 1997, the latter two years for which he served as Chair.[Education] [Certifications/Memberships] [Contact]

Sara E. H. Johnson, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Sara E. H. Johnson grew up in Duluth, Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior. She completed her undergraduate education in Psychology and Spanish at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks North Dakota. After college she enjoyed a short career in social work working with both adults with developmental delay and traumatic brain injury. In 1994 she moved to Salt Lake City with her husband and in 1997 started her next phase of education completing medical school a Master’s of Public Health and Pediatric Residency at the University of Utah. Dr. Johnson is a board certified Pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Johnson worked in a shared/solo practice downtown Salt Lake for the first nine years after residency then relocated to Comfort Care Pediatrics in the fall of 2014 to enjoy a larger group of practice setting. She is happily taking new patients from birth to late adolescence with a particular interest in wellness and preventative health. When not working Dr. Johnson enjoys free time with her husband and two children running the trials of the foothills skiing yoga travel and friends. While always missing the lake life of Minnesota she has embraced all the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and fun that Utah has to offer.

Courtney Henley, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Courtney Henley was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida.  By way of Boston College she spent a few glorious months snowboarding at Snowbird when the prophet’s words moved her, “This is the place.”  She attended medical school at the University of Florida and enthusiastically returned to the University of Utah for residency training in Anesthesiology.  Dr. Henley is a board certified Physician Anesthesiologist in private practice at LDS Hospital and wants to show her gratitude to Utah by remaining active in public service.  She was inspired by Dr. Moench and joined on to UPHE early in its inception, 2006.  This is the year Dr. Henley started her own family and she committed to leaving her children with the same rapturous environment that led Brigham Young to exclaim so many years ago.  Dr. Henley served as the vice-chairperson of the Department of Anesthesiology for 6 years.  She joins the board of UPHE excited to use her English literature  and health sciences education to advocate for the health and well being of all Utahns.  

E. Thomas Nelson, M.D. – Board Member

E. Thomas Nelson was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended the University of Utah where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Degree in English Literature in 2008. After considering a career in journalism which sent him traveling across the country, he decided to pursue a career in medicine. He attended Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, graduating in 2015. Dr. Nelson did his residency in Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland Oregon, where he was named a Chief Resident in his third year. Upon graduation, he and his wife moved to Salt Lake City where he is an emergency physician. Both he and his wife have a vested interest in Utah’s air quality—Dr. Nelson from the perspective of a medical provider, and his wife given her career in meteorology. When not in the emergency department, he can be found chasing his boy Wilson, or in the Wasatch mountains, either on his mountain bike or skis, depending on the season.

Sean Slack, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Sean Slack is a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Salt Lake Valley and joins the UPHE Board of Directors having seen the effects that poor air quality can have on patients’ lives. Having grown up in the midwest and migrating westward for undergraduate and medical school in Colorado, he moved to Utah for his residency training where, as a chief resident, he found a wonderful community to continue to practice medicine. In addition to working in the emergency department he also works at the Alta Medical Clinic and Snowbird Medical Clinic providing patient care in the heart of the Wasatch. Now raising two young children with his spouse, Sean joins the UPHE board in hopes of continuing to build on the strong legacy of environmental advocacy to benefit current and future generations of Utahns. 

Robert Weir, M.D. – Board Member

Dr. Weir is fascinated by the brain. He attended medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and then pioneered and completed a dual residency in neurology and psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern. While still living in Dallas, Dr. Weir was selected as a 40 Under 40 Awardee. He serves as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve, providing mental health care to our soldiers on the front lines.

Dr. Weir is passionate about the relationship between climate, air quality, and the brain/mental health. Since medical school, Dr. Weir has been involved in public health efforts and has liaised with government officials. He has testified before state legislature and presented to individual legislators while serving on the Government Affairs Committee of the Texas Society of Psychiatry Physicians and the Public Affairs Committee of the American Neuropsychiatric Association. Additionally, he has participated in rallies, donated money and time, written Op-Eds, and is a declarant on the lawsuit against the State of Utah re: the Great Salt Lake. As a father of several small children, he seeks to embody the Greek proverb “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”