Challenges & Opportunities at the Intersection of Climate, Health & Justice

September 19, 2023
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

The effects of climate change are here, and becoming increasingly apparent each year. Unquestionably, environmental injustices have already plagued low income communities and communities of color, and  climate change exacerbates these threats. Addressing the many and severe impacts of climate change  — from energy insecurity to agriculture vulnerabilities — and mitigating their harmful health effects requires multi-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

This webinar brought together Alexa White, Dr. Ans Irfan, and Dr. Daniel Carrión, all senior fellows of the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice (AOC-EJ) program. It was moderated by Dr. Max Aung and Dr. Lariah Edwards, senior fellows and Assistant Directors of AOC-EJ. Each of the webinar guests and moderators represents a unique perspective on multi-faceted and intersecting issues related to climate change, health, and justice. 

The invited fellows drew from their own work and experiences to discuss challenges and opportunities at this intersection. They shared their thoughts on education to support climate justice and equity initiatives, ways the academy can address the climate crisis, and reflections on the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 27).

CHE partnered with Agents of Change and the Center for Environmental Health and Justice in Northern Manhattan at Columbia University to host this ongoing series featuring the stories, analyses and perspectives of next generation environmental health leaders who come from historically under-represented backgrounds in science and academia. To learn more about AOC-EJ, read the blogs, or apply for the fellowship, go to https://agentsofchangeinej.org/.

Featured Speakers

Alexa White, MS, is trained as an agroecologist and herpetologist and her research focuses on biophysical indicators of sustainable agriculture and international climate governance pertaining to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2: To End Hunger. White is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. White is also the co-founder and executive director of her think tank, the AYA Research Institute, which seeks to increase the number of scientists and engineers of color involved in community-led environmental justice research.

Ans Irfan, MD, EdD, DrPH, ScD, MPH, MRPL is a global environmental public health scholar-practitioner with an action-oriented multidisciplinary applied research portfolio focusing on social, racial, and health inequities. Specifically, Irfan utilizes a mixed-methods approach to provide innovative public policy and programmatic solutions geared towards eliminating social and health inequities. Irfan is currently an Associate Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Irfan also serves as a Religion and Public Health Fellow at Harvard Divinity School at Harvard University.

Daniel Carrión, PhD, MPH is an environmental health scientist focused on the intersection of climate, energy, and health inequity. He is interested in the role of the home and neighborhood environment as opportunities for intervention towards climate and health equity, largely focused on energy transitions. Dr. Carrión is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Yale School of Public Health and serves as the Director of Education for the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health.


This webinar was moderated by Max Aung, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Environmental Health at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, and Lariah Edwards, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health.