C-CHANGE: Linking Climate and Health

Gina McCarthy

Climate change is one of our greatest public health threats—and one of our best opportunities to improve health. Philanthropic support is now helping drive the Harvard Chan School’s work to understand links between climate change and health, and to turn that research into solutions.

Campaign gifts proved instrumental in launching the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), led by former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Climate change in many people’s eyes is seen as a faraway problem about the Arctic or polar bears, when really it is a fundamental public health challenge,” says McCarthy.

McCarthy notes that financial support from donors strengthens C-CHANGE’s ability to attract not only leading climate change scientists, but also students eager to do research that makes a difference. “We are nurturing a new generation of students who will be experts in science and research but also understand how to communicate in ways that turn that science into policy.”

This philanthropic support also enables C-CHANGE to explore new frontiers in climate change research—such as the ways a changing environment affects children’s health. “There’s a fairly robust body of evidence that air pollution is associated with a variety of neurological impacts, such as autism and ADHD,” says McCarthy. “Everybody needs to know that climate impacts health, and that health is about the future of their families and kids. When those connections are made, people will act.”