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Climate, Resilience, and Health

Cluster leads: Anand Gnanadesikan and Marsha Wills-Karp

Addressing the complex problem of climate change will require humanity to identify and promote solutions that maximize synergies and minimize conflicts between human health and climate adaptation and mitigation. Through the creation of the Johns Hopkins Climate Initiative, this cluster will develop mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat the health effects of climate change in an equitable, adoptable, sustainable, and economically feasible manner.

This cluster aims to build a program at JHU that addresses THE challenge of the 21st Century that impacts every other challenge we face. Cluster scholars will synergistically address major gaps in the research agenda and also provide policy solutions that consider local context and methods to effectively implement viable methods of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This cluster will be recruiting 4 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors and 4 junior faculty members to collaborate together along with existing Johns Hopkins faculty in these areas of research.

Interested in this cluster? Contact us to learn more.

More Information

Research Goals / Scholar Background

Establishing Johns Hopkins as a leader in the field of climate and health requires deepening its subject-matter expertise in three focus areas that will support this cluster’s goals. JHU currently lacks a critical mass of transdisciplinary scholars who approach the climate and health challenge from a systems point of view. This cluster provides an opportunity to bring in scholars who have developed a deep knowledge of processes relevant to climate or greenhouse gas reduction (traditionally found in the environmental sciences) but who are committed to linking this knowledge to actionable strategies for protecting health and well-being by engaging disciplines such as epidemiology, communications, politics, or economics.

Cluster scholars will have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Climate modeling, health surveillance, risk assessment
  • Systems engineering, health assessment
  • Policy, economics, climate policy, communications

Key goals of this cluster:

  • Define climate change impacts on health: Identify greatest climate sensitive health risks
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation: Design, monitor, evaluate strategies for climate change resilience that maximize health co-benefits with limimted unintended consequences
  • Social engagement: Engage social and political dimensions of health and climate, inform climate policies and interventions, and engage with stakeholders

Leveraging research strengths across Johns Hopkins

The cluster will build on specific expertise and institutional advantages that position Johns Hopkins University to become a leader in the field of climate and health. A wealth of intellectual resources currently exist at JHU to support this cluster’s activities. JHU’s unique positioning to attack the problems posed by climate change stems from its deep knowledge of the individual systems involved in climate, health, and policy. Central to this are the many departments in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Whiting School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing, who work on problems ranging from infectious disease to disaster preparedness to food systems to health communications. These units have years of experience in global communities most vulnerable to climate change, understand the challenges in delivering health care to such communities, and have developed monitoring systems for health. The departments of Environmental Health and Engineering in WSE and Earth and Planetary Sciences in KSAS have experts studying fundamental processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, with many looking at interactions between systems, providing a knowledge basis for climate change, its drivers, and how proposed mitigation strategies might affect health. The Applied Physics Laboratory is a global leader in remote sensing. SAIS is a key resource for both understanding how policy is made and engaging with policymakers.

A number of institutes and new initiatives are developing important capabilities that can be entrained into solving the problem this cluster aims to tackle, such as the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute, which will work on developing new, more environmentally-friendly technologies; the Data Intensive Engineering and Science’s supercomputing capabilities and AI facilities; and the 21st Century Cities initiative. The SNF Agora Institute in KSAS seeks to strengthen the democratic systems and processes necessary for developing and implementing robust approaches to mitigation and adaptation.

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    Vice Provost for Research

    265 Garland Hall
    3400 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    (443) 927-1957

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