Health Care Leaders Speak Out on Climate Change

Public and private leaders of the NAM Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector are committed to moving the health sector towards decarbonization.

Hear directly from health care leaders below about the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis to protect health and equity, and how their organizations are taking action.

Michelle Hood

Michelle Hood, MHA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, American Hospital Association:

“Hospitals and health systems almost universally have as part of their mission statements, improving the health of their communities, as well as the individual patients that they care for.”


Michelle Hood is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Hospital Association. In this capacity, Ms. Hood is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the association. Her leadership of the evolution of AHA’s strategy advances an agenda for innovation and transformation, which synthesizes public policy, field engagement and innovation, and provides increased value to members. Her responsibilities include oversight for clinical leadership and performance improvement, field engagement, enterprise services and innovative partnerships. Additionally, she works to integrate all areas of the association into the AHA’s advocacy agenda and public policy initiatives. Previously, Ms. Hood served as President and CEO of Northern Light Health, Brewer, Maine. Northern Light is a $1.8 B integrated healthcare delivery system providing services across the entire state of Maine. Over her 14 year tenure in this position, she oversaw significant organic growth of the system as well as the addition of three hospitals, four skilled facilities, a home care agency, residential hospice services and numerous ground/air ambulance units to the portfolio. In this role, she focused on health care policy and design models at the state and national levels, positioning the system to be successful in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Rachel Levine

Rachel L. Levine, MD, Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“The federal government is full speed ahead to confront the climate change emergency. At the Department of Health and Human Services, we are focused on its catastrophic and chronic threats to health.”


Admiral Rachel L. Levine serves as the 17th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She fights every day to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. She’s working to help our nation overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger foundation for a healthier future – one in which every American can attain their full health potential. ADM Levine’s storied career, first, as a physician in academic medicine focused on the intersection between mental and physical health, treating children, adolescents, and young adults. Then as Pennsylvania’s Physician General and later as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, she addressed COVID-19, the opioid crisis, behavioral health and other public health challenges.

Beverly Malone

Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer, National League of Nursing:

“The climate change issue is one that affects every nurse because we take care of patients and we’re devoted to that; there’s no separation between climate change and the health care that we deliver to patients.”


Under Dr. Beverly Malone’s leadership, the National League for Nursing (NLN) has advanced the science of nursing education by promoting greater collaboration among stakeholders, increasing diversity in nursing and nursing education, and advancing excellence in care for patients. Dr. Malone’s distinguished career has mixed policy, education, administration, and clinical practice, including as federal deputy assistant secretary for health under President Bill Clinton. As a reviewer, she contributed to the groundbreaking IOM report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” and served on the Minority Health Federal Advisory Committee, a federal panel established to advise the US Secretary of Health and Human Services. She is also on the Kaiser Family Foundation Board of Directors and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Board of Directors. In 2021, Modern Healthcare honored her with a Top 25 Women Leaders’ Luminary Award. Last year, Modern Healthcare ranked her as No. 5 in their Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare and named her to the inaugural list of five Minority Healthcare Luminaries. She was previously honored on their list of Top 25 Women in Healthcare. Additionally, the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) honored her with the Living Legends Award. Also in 2020, Dr. Malone was honored by the University of Cincinnati with the Linda Bates Parker Legend Award, which recognizes alumni for their professional accomplishments and active development of those around them. The NLN Board of Governors presented her with a special Award of Distinction.

Anne McDonald Pritchett

Anne McDonald Pritchett, PhD, Senior Vice President, Policy & Research, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America:

“If we’ve learned anything from the global crisis COVID-19 has caused it’s this: science is what will lead us through the tough challenges facing our planet. That’s also true when it comes to another global challenge – climate change.”


Anne McDonald Pritchett, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President, Policy and Research, at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Her primary focus is overseeing the development of legislative and policy analysis and research studies on a range of issues impacting innovative biopharmaceutical companies including intellectual property issues, FDA policy issues, and other issue areas impacting the environment for innovation. In addition to her public policy work, she and her team lead the development of a range of educational and other materials focused on explaining the R&D process, the value of innovation, and the role and contributions of the innovative biopharmaceutical industry.

Michelle McMurry-Heath

Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO):

“If you are a part of the health care ecosystem, then you can be an important part of making health care more sustainable.”


Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) on June 1, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath becomes just the third leader of the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since BIO’s founding in 1993. Based in Washington D.C., BIO represents 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries. McMurry-Heath has worked across academia, nonprofits, government, and industry, but her common focus has been broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. Driven by her own past family experiences navigating clinical trials and funding challenges within the rare disease community, Dr. McMurry-Heath calls “the distribution of scientific progress the social justice issue of our age.” She comes to BIO from Johnson & Johnson where she served as Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences, leading an international team of 900 working in 150 countries. Earlier in her career, she served as a health and science adviser in the United States Senate. President Obama chose her to be a member of his science transition team before naming her associate science director in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke University’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African American ever to graduate from the prestigious dualdegree program. She also spent 12 years as a laboratory scientist working at the research bench.

Renee Salas

Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS, Affiliated Faculty / Yerby Fellow, Harvard Global Health Institute / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

The burning of fossil fuels, which is the root cause of both air pollution and climate change, threatens medicine’s core mission by harming health and disrupting health care delivery, making it harder or even impossible for health professionals to do their jobs.


Dr. Renee N. Salas is Affiliated Faculty and previous Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C- CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is also a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Salas has served as the lead author of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief since 2018 and founded and leads its Working Group of over 70 U.S. organizations, institutions, and centers working at the nexus of climate change and health. Dr. Salas was a Co-Director for the first Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice Symposium – in partnership with The New England Journal of Medicine – and spearheads the broader Initiative. She also served on the planning committee for the National Academy of Medicine’s Climate Change and Human Health Initiative and has testified before Congress for the full House Committee on Oversight and Reform on how climate change is harming health. She engages in research on how climate change is impacting the healthcare system and developing evidence-based adaptation. She lectures and serves on committees at the nexus of climate and health nationally and internationally, advises and publishes in high impact journals, and her work and expertise are regularly featured in mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, NPR, Time, and the Associated Press.

Bruce Siegel

Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer, America’s Essential Hospitals:

“Our hospitals are anchor institutions and the people who depend upon them – who depend upon the safety net – are those who are going to be at the greatest risk of suffering the worst effects of climate change.”


Since joining America’s Essential Hospitals in 2010, Bruce Siegel has used his extensive experience in health care management, policy, and public health to advance the association’s advocacy, leadership development, and population health work. America’s Essential Hospitals has grown dramatically under his stewardship, becoming a stronger voice for hospitals that care for the most vulnerable. He served previously as director of the Center for Health Care Quality at The George Washington University and as president and CEO of two member systems: the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Tampa General Healthcare. He also served as New Jersey’s commissioner of health.

David Skorton

David J. Skorton, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges:

“There are two reasons why all of us in the U.S. health sector need to get on board with the NAM Action Collaborative. One is that our sector contributes to greenhouse gases. And the second is that caring for our patients and their families and the communities is ultimately why we do what we do.”


David J. Skorton, MD, a cardiologist, is president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a not-for-profit institution that represents the nation’s medical schools, teaching hospitals and health systems, and academic societies. Previously, he was the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, president of Cornell University and president of the University of Iowa. He has published hundreds of original research papers, opinion pieces, blogs, public policy reports, and book chapters, and edited two major texts in cardiology. He earned his BA from Northwestern University and his MD from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He completed his medical residency and fellowship in cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Natasha Sood

Natasha Sood, MPH, MS3, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine and Co-Founder and Chair, Medical Students for a Sustainable Future:

“Central to our mission is to reduce the environmental impact of the health care sector on our environment. But we find that as students we’re not being trained to effectively care for our patients in the context of climate change.”


Natasha Sood is a Founding Leader and Chair of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future. She is a 3rd year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Michigan and earned her MPH from Columbia University with a specialization in Climate Change and Health. She focuses her research and advocacy efforts on climate- health curriculum reform and climate-smart healthcare. Most recently she was the recipient of the HCWH 2020 Emerging Physician Leader Award.

Get involved


The Climate Collaborative is committed to galvanizing a movement within the health sector to mitigate and adapt to climate change, while centering and maximizing human health and equity. To extend the reach and impact of this work, we invite entities to join the movement and participate as Network Organizations. Learn more and apply to join our network >>


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