Climate and Health

Climate variability and change pose complex risks to our health. Dramatic examples can be found in the headlines: a powerful tropical storm sweeps in with such force that hundreds of thousands are left homeless and sanitation systems are destroyed. Less dramatic but equally troubling is the gradual impact of long-term change: warming trends, for example, that bring shifts in infectious disease transmission patterns and more frequent heat waves.

Designing public health interventions to address climate-related health issues like these has been hampered by a shortage of professionals possessing the ability to translate climate and health science into action. The Climate and Health Certificate aims to help fill that training gap.
This dynamic program - rare in schools of public health - will provide a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners the tools needed to understand, anticipate, and prevent adverse health consequences from climate variability and change.

Graduates have a range of career options at state and city health departments, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, consulting firms, NGOs, and corporations.

Admissions Eligibility

Climate and Health is open to Columbia MPH students in:

The Competencies for this Certificate are as follows:

  1. Appraise the scientific basis for adverse and disruptive human health effects from climate change, including direct, indirect and complex/downstream processes;
  2. Describe global warming from first principles;
  3. Evaluate climate models, meteorological and climate data, and climate and weather forecasts
  4. Apply advanced analytic techniques derived from GIS, epidemiology and other quantitative approaches to predict past, present and future climate- and weather-associated health impacts, including dose-response effects and the biological and molecular basis of the effects of climate and weather on health;
  5. Plan and implement climate-associated epidemiological or modeling studies and communicate results effectively to a variety of audiences.

Learn More

Visit the Certificates Database to learn more about core and credit requirements. 

Sample Courses

Health Impacts of Climate Change 

Public health dimensions of climate change are of growing concern in both developing and developed countries. Climate-related health impacts may arise via heat waves, air pollution, airborne allergens, compromised ecological services, water- or vector-borne diseases, and shifts in agricultural productivity. The ability to identify, understand, predict, and ameliorate public health impacts of climate change depends on how effectively we assimilate and synthesize information and tools from a range of disciplines, including atmospheric sciences, climate modeling, epidemiology, ecology, risk assessment, economics, and public policy. The objective of the course is to lay a foundation for this cross-disciplinary perspective by engaging graduate students drawn from across the University in topical lectures, group exercises, and discussions built around the emerging knowledge base on the public health dimensions of climate change.

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