Climate & Health Master Class

More events coming soon!


As the impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly severe worldwide, Keystone Symposia and the Global Consortium for Climate Health and Education have joined forces to raise awareness for how climate change impacts human health, and what we as scientists can do to apply our skills and knowledge toward increasing our understanding of health impacts and viable solutions to minimize harms. In a series of ePanels with climate medicine experts, we will explore how increasing frequency and severity of heat waves, wildfires, drought, flooding and other extreme weather events is fueling a global health crisis, particularly amongst vulnerable populations.

Health care professionals graphic next to a globe surrounded by a stethoscope

From heat-related illness, to respiratory, cardiovascular, waterborne gastrointestinal and vector-borne diseases, the global disease burden due to climate change is vast and ever-rising. With impending climate crisis, we are likely to reach a tipping point sooner rather than later as healthcare systems and providers are stretched to capacity. It is critical that the biomedical community engage now to understand these impacts, and design interventions to mitigate the damage to human health worldwide.

In this ePanel series we will examine:

  • Mechanisms linking climate change to disease pathology
  • Health impacts from physiological to epidemiological levels
  • Tools to measure and analyze health impacts to inform decisions and action
  • Current interventions, successes and failures
  • Health disparities and disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations

Ultimately, the goal of these discussions is to open up lines of communication between scientists, clinicians, public health experts and policy makers to collectively assess the threats posed by climate change, and devise strategies to curtail the looming climate health crisis.

Previous ePanel Events

Watch the Climate Health Master Class Lectures

Health Impacts from Extreme Heat - VIDEO RECORDING

Rupa Basu, PhD, California Environmental Protection Agency

Extreme heat and ambient heat exposure due to climate change are causing rising death tolls in recent years around the world, with recent incidences in California, the Oregon, India, England, and Australia as examples.  Heat impacts all organs in the body and exacerbates underlying medical conditions, particularly cardiovascular disease, triggering emergency room visits, hospitalizations and death in vulnerable populations.  The elderly, pregnant women, African-Americans and poor communities are most vulnerable to negative health outcomes.


Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms - VIDEO RECORDING

Nara Souza, MSc, Brain Chemistry Labs

Many naturally occurring algal species and genera are important to the environment. When favorable conditions exist, they can bloom to form mass populations that pose significant risks to human and animal health. Some of these organisms are capable of producing highly potent toxins, which can cause acute health issues, from rashes to vomiting, fever, liver failure and even death, as well as long term health consequences such as neurologic issues and cancers.

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of such toxic blooms due to higher temperatures, droughts, severe weather and desertification as examples. To mitigate such problems, we need tools to help understand the impacts of climate changes on algal blooms, to build strategies to manage and minimize harmful algal blooms.


Climate Change and Cascading Risks from Waterborne Diseases - VIDEO RECORDING

Jan C. Semenza, PhD, University of Heidelberg

Climate change can trigger a series of events with consequences for waterborne diseases. Heavy rainfall, flooding and hot weather are associated with increased incidence of waterborne diseases like cholera, vibrio spp., cryptosporidium, giardia and campylobacter.  Early warning systems that monitor and integrate climatic and/or environmental precursors of disease prior to outbreaks are important to develop public health strategies to intercept cascading risks and prevent subsequent waterborne disease outbreaks.

ePanel Sept 26, 2022: Heat, Health and Inequity


Heat waves are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity around the world, including recent extreme heat events in the US, Europe, India, and China.  These heat stresses increase morbidity and mortality by exacerbating chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, and striking vulnerable populations like pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those from poorer and marginalized communities. This panel will explore the connections between heat and population health while identifying disparities and effective interventions to mitigate the impacts of climate change on human health.

ePanel Aug 26, 2022: Climate Change, Air Quality and Lung Health


Climate change driven wildfires and increasing air pollution are degrading air quality worldwide, causing alarming impacts on our health.  When particulates found in the air are inhaled, they induce molecular and cellular damage to the lung, leading to asthma, lung cancer and other chronic lung diseases.

On August 16, 2022, Keystone Symposia hosted a FREE ePanel event on Climate Change, Air Quality and Lung Health, exploring these issues with field leaders. The discussion spanned micro to macro level impacts, covering epigenetic, cellular and population-level studies of how exposures to poor air quality alters lung function.

A particular emphasis was placed on vulnerable individuals and populations, and research that informs interventions and policy decisions that will protect human health and equity.  We tackled the discussion from many angles, gaining perspectives from clinicians, researchers, educators, and public health policy leaders to holistically assess these challenges and identify solutions.

ePanel Apr 22, 2022: Health Threats, Disparities and Necessary Actions


On Earth Day, 2022, we launched our Climate Health ePanel series in collaboration with the Global Consortium on Climate Health and Education, with the inaugural ePanel on Health Threats, Disparities and Necessary Actions. The free ePanel event provided a broad overview of how climate related exposures – such as extreme heat, wildfires, drought and extreme weather events – threaten human health worldwide.

In particular, we examined the disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, including African nations, indigenous peoples, persons living with disabilities, women, mothers and children. We gained perspectives from clinicians, researchers, journal editors, educators, non-profit foundation leaders and public health policy experts to holistically assess these challenges and identify ways the scientific community can get involved and take action against these impacts and inequities.