Leadership of the Department of Environmental Health

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:

I am pleased to announce that Kari C. Nadeau, MD, PhD, will serve as the new Chair of the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health effective January 16, 2023. Dr. Nadeau will be joining the Harvard Chan faculty as the John Rock Professor of Climate and Population Studies.

Dr. Nadeau comes to us from Stanford Medicine, where she is the Naddisy Foundation Professor in Pediatric Food Allergy, Immunology, and Asthma; professor of pediatrics and of medicine; Section Chief in Asthma and Allergy in the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division; and Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health (by courtesy). She is a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and a fellow at the Center for Innovation in Global Health. Dr. Nadeau started and directed the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research and founded the Climate Change and Health Equity Task Force. She developed climate change and health courses at Stanford Medicine and oversaw a committee for the decarbonization of health care.

Dr. Nadeau’s research looks at how environmental exposures affect immunity and disease, such as in asthma, severe allergies, and immune disorders. She studies molecular and systems biology responses to air pollution in vulnerable populations, including children and wildfire fighters, and in underserved communities. Her laboratory performs implementation science to monitor health and biomarker outcomes after mitigation and adaptation to climate change events.

Earlier this year she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. She is a member of the U.S. Federal Wildfire Commission and the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NIH, and has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. EPA. She has consulted with various governmental agencies and research organizations on the role of climate in allergy, asthma, and immunology. In the past year she has been an advisor and collaborator on air pollution and health for the World Health Organization, worked on the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change, and led sessions on climate change and health at COP26 in Glasgow and recently at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. She is co-founder of four companies, which are bringing the results of her studies to families and clinical practice.

I am excited that Dr. Nadeau’s vision is fully aligned with the mission and strategic needs of the department and the School to understand the mechanism of environmental health hazards across the full range of disciplines, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and to translate that knowledge into prevention actions in public policy, clinical practice, products, and informed decisions by patients and families.

Dr. Nadeau earned her MD/PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1995, completing her doctoral work in biochemistry and immunology, followed by a pediatric internship and residency at Boston Children’s Hospital (1995-1997). She moved to California for a fellowship in the Stanford-UCSF Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Program (2003-2006), joining the Stanford School of Medicine faculty as an instructor, followed by promotions to assistant professor (2008), associate professor (2011), and professor (2015).

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to acting chair Doug Dockery, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Research Professor of Environmental Epidemiology, who served as chair of the department from 2005 to 2016 and as acting chair since 2021. I am grateful to Doug for his many contributions and exemplary leadership to both the Department of Environmental Health and the School as a whole. I would also like to thank Francine Laden, who will continue as associate chair, and the faculty and staff of the Department of Environmental Health for their many contributions during this transition.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Nadeau to Harvard Chan School.

Best wishes,

Michelle A. Williams, ScD 
Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School