Communicating About Climate Change & Health

Guidance for Health Professionals & Other Health Communicators 

As part of the Grand Challenge on Climate Change, Human Health, & Equity, the NAM will produce a set of materials that a) summarize in plain language the impacts of climate change on health at the individual level as well as the benefits of climate change interventions; and b) support health professionals and other health communicators in sharing this information with their audiences in a sensitive, inclusive, and actionable manner. These materials will be developed collaboratively by scientists, health professionals, communicators, and community members and draw from research, real-world exemplars/best practices, and audience focus groups. The project will include a public webinar and comment opportunity in spring 2024 and is expected to be complete by fall. For more information, email

Project Committee

Joneigh Khaldun (Co-Chair), Vice President & Chief Health Equity Officer, CVS Health (Michigan)

undefinedJoneigh S. Khaldun, MD, MPH, FACEP (Co-Chair) is a nationally recognized healthcare executive, health policy and public health expert who currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer for CVS Health. In this role she advances strategy, programs and policy to achieve health equity across all CVS Health lines of business. Prior to this she served as Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan and Chief Deputy Director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where she oversaw public health, Medicaid, behavioral health, and aging services. She was the lead strategist guiding Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 response and in 2021 was appointed by President Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Dr. Khaldun has spearheaded the design and implementation of several system-changing projects at the intersection of public health and clinical medicine. She is known for her ability to lead teams through crisis as well as take innovative and bold ideas from conceptualization to precise operational execution and results. Prior to her role in the State of Michigan, she was appointed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to lead the rebuilding of the Detroit Health Department. There, her accomplishments include building the city’s opioid overdose response efforts; spearheading programs to address infant mortality and teen pregnancy during a time when Detroit saw the lowest infant mortality rate ever recorded in history; designing and implementing a neighborhood-based lead outreach and testing program; launching Detroit’s first online restaurant inspection reporting system; creating a professional development program for staff; and successfully leading Detroit’s response to the largest hepatitis A outbreak in modern U.S. history. Dr. Khaldun formerly served as Chief Medical Officer of the Baltimore City Health Department overseeing all clinical operations and worked in the Obama-Biden Administration’s Office of Health Reform, supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She has received multiple awards including 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum; 40 Under 40 Leader in Public Health by the DeBeaumont Foundation; George Washington University Monumental Alumni Award; 2020 Crain’s Detroit Newsmaker of the Year, Detroit News 2021 Michiganian of the Year; and 2022 USA Today Woman of the Year. She is a board- certified practicing emergency medicine physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Teddie M. Potter (Co-Chair), Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, and Director of Planetary Health

Teddie M. Potter, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP (Co-Chair), Clinical Professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, and Director of Planetary Health, is deeply committed to climate change and planetary health education. Dr. Potter is the inaugural director of the Center for Planetary Health and Environmental Justice at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota and a Fellow in the Institute on the Environment at the University. She is a member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the American Academy of Nursing Environment and Public Health Expert Panel. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of Columbia University’s Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, and the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA). She also chairs Clinicians for Planetary Health (C4PH) for the PHA. She serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Decarbonizing the US Health Sector; the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM); and the Climate Crossroads committee of NASEM. Her most recent work is founding with the International Council of Nurses, Nursing for Planetary Health, a global nursing movement.

Lori Byron, Pediatrician (Montana)

PictureLori G. Byron, MD, MS, FAAP, is a general pediatrician, married to climate advocate and internist Robert Byron. She practiced pediatrics for 27 years on the Crow Indian Reservation, and now works part-time as a pediatric hospitalist. She recently earned an MS from Johns Hopkins in Energy Policy and Climate program. She just completed a term on the Children’s Health Advisory Committee to the EPA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s Council on Environmental Health and Climate. Along with her husband Rob, they co-founded and cochair the Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate. She and Rob are authors of the 2021 Climate Change and Human Health-a Special Report of the Montana Climate Assessment. She is the organizer of the AAP’s Chapter Climate Advocates Program. She was honored to serve as an expert witness in the Rikki Held v State of MT trial in 2023.

Kai Chen, Director of Research, Climate Change and Health, Yale Institute for Global Health (Connecticut)

Kai Chen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health); Director of Research, Climate Change and Health; Deputy Faculty Director, Climate Change and Health; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health, received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering in 2016 from Nanjing University in China. During 2014-2015, he served as a Visiting Scholar at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to joining the Yale School of Public Health faculty in July 2019, he was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoc Fellow at Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Center for Environmental Health. Dr. Chen’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change, air pollution, and human health. His work involves applying multidisciplinary approaches in climate and air pollution sciences, exposure assessment, and environmental epidemiology to investigate how climate change may impact human health. Much of this work has been done in China, Europe, and the United States.

Skye Flanigan, Director of Programs, Harvard Chan C-CHANGE (Massachusetts)

Skye Flanigan, MS, is the Director of Programs at The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), where she has been since 2014. She is responsible for stewarding community engagement initiatives, developing and implementing new programs, and advancing strategic partnerships for the Center. Skye has an extensive background in research, primarily on assessing how indoor environmental quality impacts health, as well as project and research management. Skye holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of

Alice Gahbauer, Co-Founder, Rx for Climate (West Virginia)

Alice Gahbauer, PharmD, BCACP, is an associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy in West Virginia and a co-founder of Rx for Climate, a networking and advocacy group for climate-concerned pharmacists. She led the introduction of climate and health education into her own institution’s curriculum and has led advocacy efforts toward inclusion of this topic into pharmacy curriculum standards nationally. Through Rx for Climate collaborations with the Product Stewardship Institute and the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, she has contributed to the development of pharmacy-relevant climate education materials. Her role as a clinical ambulatory care pharmacist focuses on providing diabetes education, medication management, and affordability assistance to rural and underprivileged communities.

Celine Gounder, Senior Fellow at KFF; Editor-at-Large for Public Health at KFF Health News; and Medical Contributor for CBS News (New York)

undefinedCeline Gounder, MD, ScM, is Senior Fellow at KFF; Editor-at-Large for Public Health at KFF Health News; and Medical Contributor for CBS News. Trained at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, and Harvard University, Gounder is an internationally renowned internist, infectious disease specialist, and epidemiologist. She is a CBS News Medical Contributor and a Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for Public Health at KFF and KFF Health  News. Dr. Gounder is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. She cares for patients at Bellevue Hospital Center. She is one of the world’s leading experts in science, medicine, and public health communication. Gounder advises local and national policymakers on issues of public health, including epidemics and pandemics, the health impacts of climate change, mental health, drug overdose, and disinformation. Prior to joining CBS News, Gounder was a CNN Medical Analyst and a guest expert on numerous other networks. She’s written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. She’s a frequent guest on NPR and other radio and podcast programs, including two she produces: “American Diagnosis” and “Epidemic.” Between 2017 and 2018, Gounder cared for patients at Indian Health Service and tribal health facilities. In early 2015, Gounder spent two months volunteering as an Ebola aid worker in Guinea. She also interviewed locals to understand how the crisis was affecting them. Early in her career, Gounder studied HIV and tuberculosis in Brazil and southern Africa. While on faculty at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Gounder was the Director for Delivery for the Gates Foundation-funded Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic. She went on to serve as Assistant Commissioner of Health for Tuberculosis at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, her Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her MD from the University of Washington. Dr. Gounder was an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post-doctoral fellow in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University.

Elizabeth Haase, Psychiatric Medical Director, Carson Tahoe Hospital (Nevada)

Elizabeth K. Haase, MDElizabeth Haase, MD, is the psychiatric medical director for Carson Tahoe Hospital in Nevada. She also steers/leads/led the Climate Psychiatry Alliance and the climate committees for the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association. She is currently wrapping up the editing of book on youth climate distress and (fingers crossed) getting in a book on climate psychiatry on time to the APA, having dilly dallied over Christmas checking off a few bucket list items.

Joanna Katzman, Professor, University of New Mexico

Joanna Katzman, MD, MSPHJoanna G. Katzman, MD, MSPH, is a neurologist and Professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) with Secondary Appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, as well as the Colleges of Nursing and Population Health. She is the Director of the UNM Pain Center and Director of Project ECHO’s Public Health programs. In 2008, Dr. Katzman created the ECHO Pain and Opioid Management program, which has been replicated by most US Federal agencies and over 145 medical centers in over seven countries. Dr. Katzman’s public health programs include: Climate Change and Human Health, Violence Prevention, First Responder Resilience, Adverse Childhood Experiences, COVID-19, and Clinical Communications. The Climate Change and Human Health ECHO has reached over 6,000 health professionals from all 50 states and over 45 countries. Dr. Katzman is a member of the New Mexico Governor’s Council for Pain and Opioid Misuse. She is also a special governmental employee for the FDA where she provides expert testimony related to take-home naloxone and mandated pain & addiction education for clinicians. Her research includes the benefits of take-home naloxone, health professional education and patient-centered communication. Dr. Katzman has served on two previous NAM committees related to Gulf War and Health.

Arielle King, Educator, Consultant, and Strategist (New York)

Profile photo of Arielle KingArielle V. King, JD, works at the intersection of environmental justice, climate optimism, culture, and media. As an educator, consultant, and strategist, she is dedicated to helping make environmentalism inclusive, accessible, and irresistible for all. With a background in environmental racism analysis, civil rights law, and community engagement, Arielle actively supports lobbying and community initiatives– facilitating ongoing dialogues about addressing environmental issues in a more equitable and accessible way. A seasoned lecturer, she shares her expertise on environmental justice policy, media and storytelling, climate optimism, and related topics at academic institutions across the United States. Arielle is also the host of “The Joy Report”, a podcast dedicated to sharing positive climate stories through the lens of intersectionality and justice. In addition to her environmental legal advocacy and storytelling experience, Arielle is involved in the sustainable fashion space– providing insights and collaborating with brands to advance a more circular, ethical fashion industry. Arielle has over a decade of experience as an event coordinator. She recently oversaw a side event venue and coorganized a Blue Zone pavilion (the first-ever Entertainment and Culture pavilion) during COP28 in Dubai. Arielle holds a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy, and a JD focused on civil rights law and environmental justice. She is on the board of directors of Our Climate and Positive Tracks, the Advisory Board for the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, and she is a member of the Green Leadership Trust.

Ed Maibach, University Professor, George Mason University (Virginia)

Edward MaibachEd Maibach, Ph.D., MPH, is a distinguished University Professor at George Mason University and Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication (Mason 4C). He is a Principal Investigator of the Yale/George Mason Climate Change in the American Mind polling project, and a co-developer of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, an educational initiative that currently involves 52 national medical societies, and Climate Matters—a climate reporting resources program that supports TV weathercasters as local climate educators. In 2018, Dr. Maibach was appointed a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2020, he was awarded the Beck Family Presidential Medal of Excellence in Research and Scholarship—Mason’s top research honor—as well as the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication (with Anthony Leiserowitz). In 2021, news agency Thompson Reuters identified him as one of the world’s 10 most influential scientists working on climate change. He was elected as a Member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2022, and as a Member of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in 2023. Dr. Maibach earned his PhD in communication science at Stanford University (1990), his MPH at San Diego State University (1983), and his BA at University of California, San Diego (1980). He previously has had the pleasure to serve as Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, and Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. 

Ezra Markowitz, Professor of Environmental Decision-Making, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ezra MarkowitzEzra Markowitz, Ph.D., is Professor of Environmental Decision-Making in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research and teaching focus on the intersection of decision-making, persuasive communication, public engagement with science, and environmental sustainability. He is particularly interested and expert in the practical application of behavioral science to improve individuals’ and communities’ environmental decision-making; he also has deep expertise in the field of climate change communication and public engagement. He is the author of over five dozen peer reviewed research papers, book chapters, and reports. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies & Policy and an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, as well as a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College. Markowitz previously held appointments as an Earth Institute Fellow at Columbia University and as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. He is a Fellow and past president of the Society of Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology.

Lubia Nunez-Montelongo, Manager of Community Public Health Outreach, Illinois Department of Public Health

Profile photo of Lubia Núñez-Montelongo, MPHLubia Núñez-Montelongo, MPH, (pronouns: she/her/ella) is a public health professional with a passion for health equity for underserved communities in Chicago and across the state of Illinois. With over a decade of community engagement experience, Lubia is a subject matter expert in engaging diverse communities in health equity efforts with a special focus on Latinx communities and communities of color. She currently works at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as the Manager of Community Public Health Outreach. Lubia’s work bridges the information and resources of the agency to support and enhance public health efforts across the state in a culturally sensitive way. Prior to working at IDPH, Lubia was the Manager of Community Engagement the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) in Chicago, focusing on racial health equity research and engaging community groups with health research. Lubia has previously worked with other community-serving institutions and organizations, including the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships (OCEAN-HP), the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Mujeres Latinas en Acción, and the Instituto del Progreso Latino. Lubia holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, both from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Lubia is a proud Chicago native and is a proud first generation Mexican American woman from the south side of Chicago. She lives in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago with her fiancé and two cats.

Neha Pathak, Chief Physician Editor, Health and Lifestyle Medicine, WebMD (Georgia)

Neha Pathak, MD, FACP, DipABLMNeha Pathak, MD, FACP, DipABLM, is Chief Physician Editor, Health and Lifestyle Medicine at WebMD and the host of WebMD’s Health Discovered podcast. She is part of the team responsible for ensuring the accuracy of health information on WebMD. She also reports on topics related to lifestyle, climate change, and environmental impacts on health for WebMD and Medscape, and is a regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections. Beyond her role at WebMD, Dr. Pathak is a lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, where she facilitates a course in the Climate Change and Health Certificate Program. She serves on the board of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and is chair of ACLM’s Global Sustainability Committee. She represents ACLM on the Medical Society Consortium for Climate and Health steering committee and is a member of the Consortium’s communications committee. Her research focuses on the intersection of lifestyle medicine and planetary health. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and the lay press. She is also a founding member of the Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action and is the Co-Chair of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, an interfaith environmental stewardship non-profit. Additionally, Dr. Pathak is the Associate Program Director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center Quality Scholars Program and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a Primary Care Physician and was a designated women’s health provider in the VA healthcare system. She continues to see patients at a community health center in Georgia. Dr. Pathak is dual board-certified in internal medicine and lifestyle medicine utilizing therapeutic lifestyle interventions – whole food, plant rich eating patterns, physical activity, sleep and stress- management strategies – as the foundation of maintain health and well-being. She graduated with a BA in psychology/biology from Harvard University. She received her MD with honors in community service from Cornell University’s Weill Medical College. Dr. Pathak completed her primary care, internal medicine residency at New York Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College. She obtained her certificate in climate change and health communication from Yale School of Public Health. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Heidi Roop, Director, University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership

Heidi Roop, PhD, MS, is the Director of the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and an Assistant Professor of Climate Science and Extension Specialist. Her research and Extension programs combine cutting-edge climate science and effective science communication to increase the use and integration of climate change information in decision making at a range of scales—from city and state to national and international levels. Her climate science research takes her around the world from Antarctica to California to the shores of Lake Superior. In addition to her appointments at the University of Minnesota, she also is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington and serves as expert advisor to a range of organizations and agencies as they seek to build resilience to climate change.

Lacey Sloan, Associate Professor, Auburn University at Montgomery (Alabama)

Profile photo of Lacey SloanLacey M. Sloan, BSW, MSSW, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Director of the developing Master of Social Work program at Auburn University at Montgomery. She received her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) and Ph.D. in social work from The University of Texas at Austin. Her three intertwining areas of scholarship are environmental justice, sexual rights and gender-based violence; and, social work education and practice in Islamic contexts. Her most recent research on environmental justice was a study documenting indigenous practices for environmental sustainability that have maintained the unique biodiversity in Socotra, Yemen. Dr. Sloan served on the steering committee for development of Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) specialized practice curriculum in Environmental Justice. She has served on CSWE’s environmental justice committee from 2019 to present. She also serves on CSWE’s Commission on Education Policy (COEP). Since 2001, using local and indigenous knowledge and decolonizing practices, she facilitated the development and/or accreditation of 25 new social work programs in the US, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Somaliland and South Sudan, including seven one-year certificates in social work, seven two-year diplomas in social work, eight BSW programs, and three Master of Social Work programs. Since 2018, Dr. Sloan has served as a consultant for UNICEF in east Africa developing training and education for the rapid deployment of the child protection workforce in emergencies.

Caren Solomon, Deputy Editor, New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts)

Caron Solomon.Caren Solomon, MD, MPH, is a Deputy Editor at the New England Journal of Medicine, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At the Journal, Dr. Solomon’s responsibilities include leading efforts related to coverage of climate change, including overseeing the ongoing “Fossil-Fuel Pollution and Climate Change” series. She publishes and speaks widely on the effects of fossil fuels and climate change on health, with a focus on ways health care professionals can take action. Dr. Solomon serves on advisory committees on climate change for Massachusetts Medical Society and for the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and served as co-chair of the Harvard Medical School Faculty Council’s subcommittee on Climate Change. She is a founding member of Climate Code Blue, an organization of Boston area physicians committed to climate action and to amplifying the voices of frontline communities most affected by climate change. Dr. Solomon graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and earned an MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Project Staff


  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • Google/YouTube
  • Rockefeller Foundation

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