Climate Change and Health: What the Science Says and What We Can Do

Tue February 26 2019 • 3:30 PM — 5:00 PM Forum • 5:00 — 6:00 PM Reception
Location: Palmer Commons, University of Michigan
Registration: Registration closed. Please watch our video here:
Hashtag: #ClimateChangesHealth; Please follow us on Twitter at @M_LEEaD
Climate Change is a Public Health Issue
Our climate is our planet’s life support system. Climate change influences human health and disease in numerous ways including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and diseases carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. As described in the National Climate Assessment, some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location. Preventive and adaptive actions are urgently needed. Our panel of experts include authors of the National Climate Assessment Health and environmental sustainability and public health leaders.

Registration closed. Please watch our video here:
John Balbus, MD, MPH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
John M. Balbus, MD, MPH, serves as a senior advisor to the Director on public health issues and as NIEHS liaison to its external constituencies, stakeholders, and advocacy groups. He also leads NIEHS efforts on climate change and human health. In this capacity he serves as HHS principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, for which he also co-chairs the Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health. Dr. Balbus' background combines training and experience in clinical medicine with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, and risk sciences. He has authored studies and lectures on global climate change and health, transportation-related air pollution, the toxic effects of chemicals, and regulatory approaches to protecting susceptible subpopulations.
Kim Knowlton, DrPH Natural Resources Defense Council & Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Dr. Knowlton teaches at the Mailman School of Public Health, and is senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s health and environment program in New York City. Her work focuses on issues related to the health impacts of climate change, including advocating for public health strategies to prepare for and prevent these impacts, and partnering with city and state governments to make health preparedness a more central feature of climate adaptation plans. She has researched heat- and ozone-related mortality and illnesses, possible connections between climate, pollen, allergies and asthma, and links between climate change and infectious diseases such as dengue fever. She was among the researchers who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. Dr. Knowlton's project group at NRDC recently launched an innovative website ( that allows people to zoom in on health effects of climate change in their own community. The web pages use cutting edge mapping technology to show people local risks of flooding, drought, heat, pollen, ozone smog, and mosquito-borne dengue fever. The site also informs people about what's needed to protect their families and reduce climate change.
Welcoming remarks from F. DuBois Bowman, PhD Dean, University of Michigan School of Public Health
Dr. F. DuBois Bowman, a distinguished researcher whose scholarship focuses on improving mental health and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and depression, will become the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s 12th dean and a tenured professor of biostatistics beginning in October 2018.
Moderator: Trish Koman, PhD, MPP
Trish Koman, PhD, MPP, is a research investigator at the University of Michigan School of Public Health Environmental Health Sciences department and the faculty research program manager at the College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design. A former government scientist, Trish leads community-engaged research to create healthier communities.
• 3:00-3:30 PM: Registration in Atrium, Palmer Commons
• 3:30-5:00 PM: Program in Forum Hall, Palmer Commons; also available online via livestream
• 5:00-6:00 PM: Reception in Atrium, Palmer Commons
Michigan Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease Center (NIEHS funded); Co-Sponsors: School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS); Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Michigan Public Health
Outreach Sponsors
Climate Reality Leaders – Washtenaw Chapter, Climate Reality Leaders – University of Michigan Chapter, MUSE, Climate Blue, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Detroit Mercy Law Clinic, Ecology Center, Graham Institute, Huron River Watershed Council, MSU- Renu
U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality
On February 4, 2019, U-M President Mark Schlissel announced the members of the core team responsible for developing recommendations for how to achieve carbon neutrality for U-M, as well as develop scalable and transferable strategies that can be used by other institutions and larger communities to achieve the same goal.
Health and Climate: Resource Guide (APHA)
Health organizations around the globe concur that climate change is the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century. Every individual will be affected by some combination of extreme weather patterns, food insecurity, air pollution, vector borne diseases, rising waters, or a host of other challenges to daily living, with the poor and disenfranchised being hit disproportionately. No matter one’s occupation, country of origin or religious preference, global warming is a present and increasing danger to human health that must be addressed now.
National Climate Assessment
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.