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.
What the pandemic has taught the planet
In his latest Coverage column, Dr. Bernstein reflects on the intertwined crises of COVID-19 and climate change.
Environmental News: The Next Pandemic, Boston Subways And Rejoining The Paris Agreement
Dr. Aaron Bernstein joins Callie Crossley on Under the Radar to discuss environmental news in Boston.
How Climate Change Has Impacted the Pandemic
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein gives the climate and COVID 101 in his interview with Cheddar.
Pollen seasons are getting longer, driven by climate change
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein says that greater exposure to pollen can be a big problem, particularly when combined with other factors related to climate change.
Climate Change Is Driving Longer, More Severe Pollen Seasons, Study Finds
“I think this is a smoking gun of the health risk from climate change that is probably clearer than any other,” says our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein. “And yet it's just one signal among many that come from the same warming of the planet.”
Killer Combination: Climate, Health and Poverty
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein talks to Greg Dalton and Adrienne Hollis about the convergence of climate, health, and poverty.
Fossil Fuel Pollution Kills 8.7 Million a Year, Twice Previous Estimate
Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein underscores that fossil fuels are killing millions of people right now.
Bolder climate action could save millions of lives each year by 2040
A new study estimates over 7 million lives per year could be saved through policies that facilitate better diets, cleaner air, and more walking and cycling.
Study: Fossil fuel air pollution linked to 1 in 5 deaths worldwide
“The big takeaway message here is that we have far more to gain from our health than we just realized yesterday from getting off fossil fuels,” —our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein
Harvard Chan C-CHANGE announces Youth Summits on Climate and Public Health to empower the next generation of leaders
Summer program will prepare high school students to take climate and public health action in their communities.