Kim Knowlton, DrPH

  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
Profile Headshot


Dr. Knowlton teaches at the Mailman School of Public Health, and is senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s health and environment program in New York City. Her work focuses on issues related to the health impacts of climate change, including advocating for public health strategies to prepare for and prevent these impacts, and partnering with city and state governments to make health preparedness a more central feature of climate adaptation plans. She has researched heat- and ozone-related mortality and illnesses, possible connections between climate, pollen, allergies and asthma, and links between climate change and infectious diseases such as dengue fever. She was among the researchers who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report.


Dr. Knowlton's project group at NRDC recently launched an innovative website ( that allows people to zoom in on health effects of climate change in their own community. The web pages use cutting edge mapping technology to show people local risks of flooding, drought, heat, pollen, ozone smog, and mosquito-borne dengue fever. The site also informs people about what's needed to protect their families and reduce climate change.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1978 Cornell University
  • MS, 1993 City University of New York, Hunter College
  • DrPH, 2005 Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

Honors & Awards

Mellon Teaching Fellow, Barnard College, 2006-2007

APERG Scholar, Mid-Atlantic States Section of the Air and Waste Management Association (MASS-A&WMA) Air Pollution Educational Research Grant Program (APERG), 2006-2007

Dissertations Initiative for Advancement of Climate-Change Research (DISCCRS) Scholar, 2006


Research Interests

  • Environmental Health

Global Health Activities

NRDC's India Initiative: Preparing for Public Health Impacts of Climate Change: Heat waves, floods, and infectious disease outbreaks are just some of the public health threats in India that could by exacerbated by climate change. Communities need the ability to assess their own climate-related public health risks and put effective adaptation measures into place.

NRDC's India Initiative is working with a premier Indian health organization to develop a climate-health preparedness plan in a major Indian city, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, focused on preventing heat-related deaths and illnesses. The India Initiative is also working to assess the vulnerabilities of local communities to extreme heat events and to develop municipal strategies for preparing and responding to climate emergencies.

Urban Health Activities

NYC Climate-Health Adaptation Workgroup: The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH), along with the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, has convened public health experts from city agencies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations to form the Public Health Adaptation Workgroup. The mission of the Workgroup is to play an integral role in the development of a citywide Public Health Climate Change Adaptation Plan by: - Applying evidence-based best practices and/or personal and agency expertise and experience - Reviewing existing plans, proposed interventions and prevention efforts - Providing information and/or data on agency activities and scope of activities Dr Knowlton is representing NRDC among the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) participating on the workgroup.

IRI Summer Climate Institute: IRI uses a science-based approach to enhance society's capability to understand, anticipate and manage the impacts of climate in order to improve human welfare and the environment, especially in developing countries. IRI's sumemr climate-health institute at their campus just north of NYC attracts global climate and health professionals to discuss cutting-edge research questions.

The New York Climate and Health Project: An integrated modeling system was developed and used to assess potential future health impacts of climate change in the NYC metropolitan region.