Gina McCarthy was Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health, as well as Director and Board Chair of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE). She has been a leading advocate for smart, successful strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years.

McCarthy served as the 13th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama Administration. Her leadership led to significant federal, state, and local actions on critical issues related to the environment, economy, energy, and transportation. McCarthy ushered in a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, which expressly linked it to global public health. She led initiatives that cut air pollution, protected water resources, strengthened chemical safety, and reduced greenhouse gases to protect more communities from negative health impacts. McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Agreement.

At the state level, McCarthy served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and Undersecretary of Policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. In Connecticut, she was instrumental in developing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate effort to reduce emissions contributing to global warming, which has spurred economic growth, improved public health, decreased energy demand and helped mitigate electricity price increases across the region. In Massachusetts, McCarthy advised five governors on environmental affairs, worked at the state and local levels on critical environmental issues, and coordinated policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.

McCarthy holds a Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Smiling headshot of Gina McCarthy

Harvard Chan School experts tapped for Biden administration posts

Our former director and board chair Gina McCarthy has been chosen for a new role in the Biden-Harris administration.

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Factory smoke

How Trump's EPA is making Covid-19 more deadly

The EPA is rolling back enforcements on air pollution which could put people at risk of dying from Covid-19.

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How air pollution exacerbates COVID-19

Cleaner air could become key to easing pandemic lockdowns.

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Can we use COVID-19 to transition towards a greener, healthier future?

Pollution is making people vulnerable to COVID-19. Could this knowledge push countries to invest in a greener future?

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Rebuilding a better world for our kids after COVID-19

Gina McCarthy and Christiana Figueres write that we need to follow our instincts to protect each other when it comes to caring for the planet.

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"Our Future in Your Hands" written on hands

Confronting the climate crisis: Earth Day at 50

Our Board Chair Gina McCarthy talks Earth Day: The past 50 years and the future of the climate change fight.

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Pollution from factory

EPA to ease pollution enforcement, which could exacerbate lung illnesses

The EPA eased the air pollution enforcement that companies have to comply to, which could put people's health at risk and limit climate change progress.

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If you live with air pollution, you're already more vulnerable to COVID-19

The damage to the lungs from poor air quality may mean people in polluted areas are more susceptible to COVID-19's symptoms.

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Gina McCarthy and Kate Walsh

Healthcare leaders on institutional response to climate change

An overview of our ClimateRx2020 Symposium, which brought together hospital leadership to discuss what health care institutions must do to prepare for climate change.

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Climate in the Clinic

Clinicians gathered for our Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice Symposium to learn about the impacts of climate change on health care delivery.

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