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APHA announces Student Champions for Climate Justice award winners

Date: Jul 13 2022


Contact: Media Relations

APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity selected five student groups as Student Champions for Climate Justice award winners who will create  academic community experiences that show how climate change affects health equity. 

The winners will receive $500 to support their proposed experiences taking place during September as part of APHA’s 150th Anniversary monthly theme, “Protecting our Environment to Protect our Health.”

“It is inspiring to see the passion these students have to not only raise awareness about climate justice issues but to move action forward among their academic communities” said Evelyn Maldonado, the APHA center’s program associate.

The five Student Champions for Climate Justice awardees and their proposed activities are:

Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

(Ursula Gately, Mark Kuo, Urooj Ahmed, Minoli Ediriweera, Alex Bamford)
The Georgetown University team will focus on environmental injustices and extreme temperature exposures in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Planned activities include a speaker panel on urban heat islands covering Rock Creek and the Anacostia River, a workshop on crocheting blankets for unhoused individuals, meditation, and an invasive plant removal and cleanup in a D.C. park.

South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota

(Peggy Harper, Madison DeJarlais, Jaimie Lynne Snavely)
The South Dakota State University team will create a StoryMap of how climate change impacts access to food in South Dakota. After team members map and analyze proximity of tribal lands, food deserts, food banks, community gardens and urban foraging areas, they will test a viewer’s knowledge of the harm to at-risk communities with an interactive trivia game. The students will also lead two podcast projects. The first is a partnership with South Dakota Urban Indian Health to allow residents to share personal stories of how climate change affects them. The second is a podcast presentation from the South Dakota State University Master of Public Health core program course “Public Health and Native American Communities.”

University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

(Bianca Punch, Karen Coker)
The University of Florida team’s experience will involve providing a platform for persons from historically marginalized communities, starting with a panel of experts, and community leaders who will share their experiences with the public health impacts of climate change. For the second part of the experience, there will be a call for photographs related to the broad theme of climate justice and equity. The photographs will then be presented at an art gallery style-event on campus and uploaded to a website or social media platform. The team will also hold a call for abstracts for a mini poster competition.

Loyola University Chicago 
Chicago, Illinois
(Sandra Jablonska, Rohan Sethi, Nathan Dhablania, Aman Kothadia, Travis Nielsen)
The Loyola University Chicago team will host a weekly workshop dedicated to climate justice. Their 90-minute virtual workshops will consist of an educational presentation on the topic, an interactive game to reinforce concepts, a professional guest speaker to discuss “real-world’” impact, and conclude with breakout rooms for discussion and small-group mentorship. 

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina

(Surasya Guduru, Mahita Sadula, Emilia Depetro)
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte team will unite local public health administrators, student leaders, and community organizations to explore the role of climate change on the reproduction of urban health disparities. Students will plan a panel discussion integrating interdisciplinary voices in climate health advocacy, a tree-planting event and subsequent debrief to promote connections between urban green space and human health, and an inaugural youth-for-youth climate education symposium supported by local grassroots efforts.
With a long-standing commitment to climate as a health issue, APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity applies a health equity lens to climate policy, engagement and action. The center leads public health efforts to inspire action on climate and health, advance policy and galvanize the field to address climate change. Its work seeks to justly address the needs of all communities, regardless of age, geography, race, income, gender or other factors. 


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.