Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bernstein focuses on the health impacts of the climate crisis on children’s health and advancing solutions to address its causes to improve the health and wellbeing of children around the world.
In 2019, Dr. Bernstein testified before Congress on the child health impacts of climate change, drawing from his personal experience as a pediatrician having to treat children with breathing difficulties, vector-borne diseases, and trauma from natural disasters. He is a trusted voice for major news outlets, providing interviews and expertise to reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CNN, and The Guardian, and writing articles for the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal, and the Boston Globe, among others.
With Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Chivian, Dr. Bernstein co-authored and co-edited the Oxford University Press book, Sustaining Life, which received the distinction of best biology book of 2008 from the Library Journal, and which has been published in several foreign language editions.
Dr. Bernstein leads Climate MD, a Harvard Chan C-CHANGE program to encourage physicians to transform climate change from an issue dominated by politics and concerns about the future or faraway places, to one that matters to every person’s health here and now. He is the course director for Human Health and Global Environmental Change and created the HarvardX course “The Health Effects of Climate Change” which explores how climate change influences health through its effects on air quality, nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration as well as solutions to the climate crisis. Through this course, thousands of students from over 100 countries have learned how climate change directly impacts their lives, and what they can do to become part of the solution.
In 2015, he was awarded a Lokey-Businesswire visiting professorship at Stanford University and has also been a visiting professor at Columbia University. Dr. Bernstein has been a member of the Harvard President’s Climate Change Task Force and co-Chairs the University Food Standards Committee.
He serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee, is Chair of the Board of Directors at the U.S. Green Building Council, and is on the Board of Advisors at Parents Magazine as an environmental health specialist. Previously, Dr. Bernstein served on the Board of Scientific Counselors to the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, he received graduate degrees in medicine (MD) and public health (MPH), from the University of Chicago and Harvard University, respectively. He is a recipient of Stanford University’s Firestone Medal for Research and a Harvard University Zuckerman Fellowship.
An avid bicyclist, Dr. Bernstein pedals to and from work year-round.
Weathering the Workforce
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein explains the need for a climate-ready health care workforce and how we can get there.
More People Can Access Surgery. That's Great For Them, Awful For The Planet
A new paper from our Director Dr. Bernstein says that surgical, obstetric, and anaesthesia care must be scaled up in a sustainable way so it doesn't break the climate.
Ice Hockey COVID Outbreaks
Our Director Dr. Bernstein shares advice for getting through winter safely.
Challenges and opportunities to sustainably scale up surgical, obstetric, and anaesthesia care globally
Strategies for the surgical, obstetric, and anaesthesia community to sustainably scale up SOA care to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address health equity and social justice issues.
Data is the lifeblood of a functioning government. When data is destroyed or distorted, it's harder to protect our health and be alerted to emerging crises.
Deforestation and Disease: How can we fix it?
How do we fix deforestation and climate change? Accountability is a good place to start.
Deforestation and Disease: Is beef consumption killing the planet?
Beef consumption is harmful in more ways than one.
Trump's EPA rewrote the rules on air, water energy. Now voters face a choice on climate change issues
New research finds that it's possible to get to zero emissions in the electricity sector within two decades.
How deforestation is connected to our health: ‘Nature is really trying to tell us something’
As we continue to battle COVID-19, it’s crucial to realize that if we destroy nature, we will destroy one of our best safeguards against sickness.
Strong children in a toxic world
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein explains how to nurture resilient young minds amid the crises of COVID-19 and climate change.