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Center for Climate, Health and Equity

APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity leads public health efforts to inspire action on climate and health, advance policy and galvanize the field to address climate change.

With a long-standing commitment to climate as a health issue, APHA’s center applies a health equity lens to help shape climate policy, engagement and action to justly address the needs of all communities regardless of age, geography, race, income, gender and more. APHA is the leading voice on the connection between climate and public health.

Check out our new 2023 strategic plan (PDF).

Meet the members of APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity Advisory Board.

The center is excited to announce the 30 members of its 2023-2024 advisory board:

  • Headshots of Advisory Board MembersMirna P. Amaya, University of Florida, APHA Human Rights Forum
  • Mirna P. Amaya, University of Florida, APHA Human Rights Forum
  • Sonia Angell, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Nakia Bolden, American Cancer Society
  • Alexis Cabarga, Rise Up Industries
  • Olufunmilayo Chinekezi, National Academy of Medicine Climate Grant Challenge, NASEM
  • Mauro Diaz-Hernandez
  • Shanda Demorest, Health Care Without Harm
  • Robin A. Evans-Agnew, School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, University of Washington Tacoma
  • Jairo Garcia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Urban Climate Nexus
  • Ans Irfan, George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Harvard University Divinity School
  • Tenaya Jackman, Hawai’i Public Health Association, Pacific Islands Primary Care Association
  • Jaylan Jacobs, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Kealoha Fox, Institute for Climate and Peace
  • Amna Khan, Ceres
  • Rhea Goswami, The Environmental Justice Coalition
  • Toni Marshall, Edelman
  • Beto Martinez, CleanAirNow Environmental Justice, Moving Forward Network, SciCAN
  • Leyla McCurdy, Children’s Environmental Health Network
  • Nishita Matangi, Loma Linda University
  • Rezwan Natiq, Nationalities Service Center
  • Sarah Newman, Climate Mental Health Network
  • Eunice Oladeji, Lincoln and Lancaster County Health Department
  • Benito Pérez, Transportation for America
  • Ajay Persaud, National Network of Public Health Institutes
  • Lindsey Realmuto, American Medical Association
  • Rev. Jon Robinson, Metropolitan AME Church
  • Kurt Shickman
  • Cecilia Sorensen, Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Pamela Valera, Rutgers School of Public Health
  • Deborah Klein Walker, Family Voices, New Hampshire Healthcare Workers for Climate Action

Meet the APHA Center for Climate, Health and Equity's inaugural advisory board.

The center works to:

  • Raise awareness, so everyone in the U.S., beginning with the public health field, recognizes the urgency of practices, policies and individual choices that address climate change and improve public health.
  • Enable an environment and culture in which "climate healthy" and equitable choices are easy choices.
  • Promote policies focused on environmental justice and health equity designed to address climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • Support science that clarifies the health impacts of climate change, as well as offers solutions and policies to guide decisionmakers.
  • Lead. APHA is recognized as the leading voice around the connection between climate change and health.

Our vision for America is that climate change is treated as a national priority with broad political and social support. In our vision, the nation will address climate change in ways that improve public health and health equity, creating the healthiest nation in one generation.

Questions? Please contact our climate change team or follow @PublicHealth using #ClimateChangesHealth.

Learn more about the connection between public health and climate change on our climate change page and from these APHA resources:

Meet the Center Staff

Katherine Catalano  Gillian Capper photo
Katherine Catalano
Deputy Director,
Center for Climate, Health and Equity
Gillian Capper
Program Manager,
Center for Climate, Health and Equity
 Mary Stortstrom photo  Michelle Loosli headshot
Mary Stortstrom
Communications Specialist
Michelle Loosli
Senior Manager, Climate Education
 Ki'Ana Speights headshot  Shweta Arya headshot
Ki'Ana Speights
Program Associate
Shweta Arya
Senior Project Manager

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is climate change a public health issue?

Climate change has led to increases in extreme weather patterns: 2018 saw Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and the Camp Fire in California and was the fourth hottest year on record. The health effects of climate change include higher injury risk and rates of cardiac, health and stress-related illnesses, as well as increases in food-, water- and insect-borne diseases.

Why did APHA create the Center for Climate, Health and Equity?

APHA founded the Center for Climate, Health and Equity to support public health professionals in taking action on climate change and health. The public health field is on the front lines of the climate change crisis, addressing and preventing climate health effects. APHA's center will offer support, resources and expertise. APHA will use the center to advance health equity and environmental justice while promoting climate solutions. APHA will also use its voice as the leading public health organization to advance better climate and health practices, shift the narrative on climate and galvanize action.

What are the center's goals for its first three years?

The center is focused on building capacity and cross-sectoral partnerships. Growing from the findings identified in APHA’s Climate Change and Health Needs Assessment (PDF), the center will engage with its steering committee and advisory board to set priority activities. The center will publish an exciting new series of resources that translate high-level climate research for general use by public health practitioners and the public. Further, center staff will develop resources and age-appropriate activities to engage a variety of ages on climate and health action. The center will have a presence at the largest yearly public health event, the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo, to elevate the issues and engage APHA members in person. Lastly, the center will engage students and early-career professionals through APHA's Speak for Health advocacy campaign.

How will the center's work differ from past APHA activities?

APHA has advanced public health work in climate change for over a decade. We've already created invaluable resources for the public health field and provided leadership on the issue. But this center is a new, focused investment that will help our work reach more of the workforce at a faster pace. The health effects of climate change won't wait, and we believe mobilizing the public health field now is critically important.

How is the center funded?

APHA has received "startup" money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health and from the Kresge Foundation to establish the center and complete some initial work. APHA is hopeful that longer-term investment will follow, allowing the center's vision for climate and equity to expand.

What makes the center unique?

APHA's center is the first of its kind to bring concerns about climate change, public health and health equity under one roof. Those hardest-hit by the health effects of climate change are vulnerable populations like children, seniors, low-income communities, people living with chronic health conditions and/or disabilities and communities of color. The center is concerned with how to shape climate policy, action and engagement to address the needs of these vulnerable populations. APHA's center is also unique because of our membership. APHA represents 50,000 individuals working in public health. Our members are diverse, international and multidisciplinary, and our ability to reach such a broad audience of experts will have an immediate impact. No other organization has the network and capacity to immediately reach so many public health professionals with the messages behind climate, health and equity.

Who will benefit from the center's work?

The center will better equip the public health field to manage the health effects of climate change, and their communities will benefit from that expertise and support. APHA members will receive timely new information on the issues surrounding climate change and health and have a dedicated center to answer questions and give support. APHA will strive to ensure the benefits of our work on climate are realized equitably across communities.

Fact sheets on Climate Change

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