Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at 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.
Dr. Bernstein regularly testifies 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 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 American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee as well as 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.
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New report calls for preventing human pandemics at the animal source
Preventing the next pandemic by stopping the spillover of animal pathogens to humans would be far less expensive than fighting a pandemic after it begins.
New climate report sparks demand for change in healthcare
Healthcare organizations, medical societies, and individual healthcare practitioners call for decarbonization and disaster preparedness to protect our health from climate change.
In these hazy skies, a public health warning from a warming planet
Smoke from wildfires in western states decreased the air quality in Boston to levels where the public could become sick and those in sensitive groups could suffer serious health effects.
What can doctors do about climate change?
Clinicians can screen for climate change–related health risks during appointments to ensure their patients understand the role climate change plays in their health.
Protecting forests and changing agricultural practices are essential, cost-effective actions to prevent pandemics
Our new report outlines the strong scientific foundations for taking actions to stop the next pandemic by preventing the spillover of pathogens from animals to people.
New Report from Harvard and Global Experts Shows Investments in Nature Needed to Stop the Next Pandemic
Protecting forests and changing agricultural practices are essential, cost-effective actions to prevent pandemics.
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.