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.
Air pollution kills 7 million people a year - and probably makes COVID-19 more deadly
After seeing how deadly air pollution makes COVID-19, the pandemic may be the push for countries to start investing in clean energy.
Delhi and Mumbai's high COVID tally linked to severe air pollution levels, says experts
India's cities are having a hard time coping with COVID-19 and air pollution is playing a role by compromising people's health.
No, warmer summer weather isn't stopping coronavirus' spread
Many have hoped that warm weather would stymie the virus, but the recent spikes in America's hottest areas are proving that's not the case.
The latest summer forecast calls for deadly heat waves
Every summer is getting hotter and every heatwave puts people's lives at risk.
Urban heat islands: Climate change disproportionately affects African Americans
Dr. Aaron Bernstein explains how African Americans are disproportionately affected by the extreme heat that comes with climate change.
'Nature is trying to tell us something'
In a Q&A, Dr. Aaron Bernstein talks about the importance of filling the gap between the medical world and the environment, especially in the context of COVID-19.
No, warmer summer weather isn't stopping coronavirus spread
The hypothesis that heat would stall COVID-19 spread appears to be debunked by recent upticks in cases in warmer states in the summer weather.
The relationship between COVID-19 and climate change
Dr. Aaron Bernstein explains the issue of COVID-19, climate change, and the health of children around the world.
Soot rule thrusts EPA into spotlight on race
A new proposal from the EPA, which would change how to consider the costs and benefits of climate policies, would disproportionately harm communities of color.
Climate change is a health crisis, and doctors aren't prepared
Children born today will have their health affected by climate change, making it crucial for medical schools to build the subject into their curriculum.