Climate and Human Health

Training physician-leaders in research, advocacy and policy-making

The Climate and Human Health Fellowship trains physicians to examine and advance evidence-based policies that help build climate-resilient communities and health systems. This two-year experiential fellowship training includes a master’s degree in public health (research methodology) at Harvard Chan, research projects focused on community- and hospital-based resilience and response strategies, and policy and advocacy training with partners in Washington, DC and elsewhere.

Fellows hold a clinical appointment at the BIDMC Department of Emergency Medicine and Harvard Medical School, and are based at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard C-CHANGE). In addition, they will be mentored by faculty from across Harvard, including the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

The fellowship is part of the LCF Consortium on Climate & Health Science Policy in partnership with the Climate & Health Science Policy Fellowship at the University of Colorado. Off-site education is obtained through internships and visiting scientist opportunities at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other sites.

Research and advocacy priorities for 2019-2021 include, but are not limited to:

1. Forecasting demand and response strategies to protect the medically vulnerable

Hurricanes, wildfires and floods in the United States in the past decade have impacted healthcare facilities across the country, imperiling both acute and long-term care of patients as seen following hurricanes Katrina and Maria. We are focused on combining existing and novel data sources to map medically vulnerable populations, predict their needs, and provide actionable information to communities and health systems in the wake of disasters and infrastructure damage to mitigate or minimize disruption of care.

2. Heat Waves: Community awareness, mitigation and preparedness strategies

Heat islands disproportionately affect economically disadvantaged and socially marginalized communities. While current research is focused on examining demand and surge in healthcare facilities, we work with local communities to better understand and attenuate the impact of annual heat waves. Through participatory research with the affected communities, we seek to provide evidence-based recommendations for improving self-agency, mitigation strategies, assistance and response.

The fellowship is committed to training the next generation of physician leaders pursuing careers in research, advocacy and policy making to ameliorate the impact of our climate on human health

For more information, visit the Climate & Human Health website.