We empower doctors of color to become leaders in climate and health equity education, advocacy, and policy solutions.
The Climate and Health Equity Fellowship was launched in 2021 in partnership with the National Medical Association (NMA) in recognition of the fact that climate change is both a health emergency, and a major health equity issue. Throughout the U.S. there is a need for more diversity in climate and health leadership and a sharper focus on equitable climate solutions. The goal of the Fellowship is to empower doctors of color from populations that face greater burdens from climate effects and are under-represented in medicine to become leaders in climate and health equity education, advocacy, and policy solutions.
The inaugural class of the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship (CHEF) saw great success. Six physician fellows with six different specialties were selected for the initial cohort from across the Southeastern United States. The fellowship took place over 10 months in 2021 with fellows meeting virtually for discussion, seminars, skill-building activities, and webinars with expert speakers also open to the public. Each month focused on a different climate and health theme, including extreme heat, mental health, transportation, clean energy and patient and community resilience. In between monthly sessions, fellows were tasked with specific practicum activities, such as conducting public outreach and education, identifying and assessing how to respond to a climate policy or regulatory issue in the region, developing their own climate and health equity presentations, developing testimony, and writing letters to the editor.
Each fellow was required to develop and complete a capstone project. The projects the fellows took on in the inaugural cohort were diverse, expansive, and impactful. These projects included:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in anesthesiology
- Building democratic rural electric co-ops for clean energy
- Organizing a climate and health symposium in South Carolina
- Introducing climate and health resolutions at the National Medical Association
- Creating a medical professionals guide to disaster relief and mutual aid
Fellows from the first cohort have gone on to write book chapters, academic papers, and op-eds on climate and health, provide testimony, and continue to establish themselves as leading climate advocates in their specialty.
The inaugural cohort saw such success that this year the CHEF fellowship has more than doubled from six fellows to fifteen fellows. This cohort was selected from across the United States, with fellows coming from Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, Texas, Hawaii, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. The fifteen fellows represent diverse specialties, advocacy experiences, cultural backgrounds, and interests in climate and health. Earlier this year, the group came together for an in-person orientation in Washington D.C., pictured above. To follow along and keep up with the projects of our fellows, check out our “Fellows in Action” page.
Interested in applying for this cohort next year? Fill out our interest form to receive a notification when applications open.
I have learned so much through this fellowship. I didn’t know what to expect but it has exceeded expectations. I would like to continue building on the foundation that was provided through this fellowship.
– Armen Henderson, MD
The program has been effective and instrumental in increasing my knowledge on climate change and health equity as well as my ability to advocate for marginalized communities.
– Steven Houser, MD
Phenomenal program. I recommend all physicians get climate certified.
– Linda Walden, MD
Read about the Class of 2022 Climate and Health Equity Fellows.
Read about the Class of 2021 Climate and Health Equity Fellows.