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 as well as the External Advisory Board of the Dalio Center for Health Justice at New York Presbyterian Hospital, 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.
More coordinated federal help needed to battle extreme heat, lawmakers told
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein testified about how federal actions can reduce the impacts of extreme heat on health to the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on the Environment
A Pediatrician’s Guide to Climate Change-Informed Primary Care
A practical approach for connecting climate change with health during pediatric well visits.
Harvard launches international task force to prevent future pandemics
Our Director, Dr. Aaron Bernstein, discusses the Scientific Task Force to Prevent Pandemics at the Source, which aims to prevent pandemics by reducing the likelihood of infectious diseases transferring from animals to humans.
Climate change impact on COVID-19, deadly diseases
On an episode of the Insight podcast, our Director, Dr. Aaron Bernstein discusses the impact of climate change on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Ninety degree days occurring earlier and more often. A rising toll of health effects. What does this say about climate change?
“The evidence is clear that the first heat wave is the most deadly, and that seems to be particularly true in places like Boston where we’re not really used to the heat,” says our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein.
How to stop the next pandemic before it starts
Being prepared for the next pandemic is important—but we should also be focused on stopping it entirely.
World leaders ‘ignoring’ role of destruction of nature in causing pandemics
Ending the destruction of nature to stop outbreaks at source is more effective and cheaper than responding to them, says our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein
Animals are still key to preventing the next pandemic
A new scientific task force led by our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein is focusing on how to prevent the emergence of diseases that spill over from animals to human beings.
No Time to Waste
Scientists from across departments and research centers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are working collectively to meet the challenge of climate change.
The Deal With All The Pollen
Dr. Bernstein answers questions about why this pollen season seems worse than usual, and what we can expect from seasonal allergies now and in the years ahead.