Press Release: 2023 Climate and Health Equity Fellowship Class

PRESS RELEASE: March 2nd, 2023

Mark Mitchell MD
Climate & Health Equity Fellowship

13 Doctors Announced as 2023 Climate and Health Equity Fellows
Climate and Health Equity Fellowship grows with new support from NOAA.


Fairfax, VA- The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health in partnership with the National Medical Association announced today the launch of the third year of their Climate and Health Equity Fellowship (CHEF) program with a class of 13 Fellows from across the U.S. as well as the launch of the CHEF Alumni Engagement Network (CAEN) for the graduates of the previous two classes.

The CHEF Fellowship was launched in 2021 in partnership with the National Medical Association (NMA) recognizing climate change as 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.  

“We’re thrilled to continue the Climate and Health Equity Fellowship this year after seeing the success of our first two classes,” said Dr. Mark Mitchell, the CHEF Fellowship founder and director.

This fellowship will engage the doctors over 10 months in intensive semi-monthly training and exercises. Fellows will meet virtually two days each month for 4 hours. In between monthly sessions, they will be tasked with specific practicum activities, such as developing their own climate and health equity presentations, developing testimony, talking to reporters, making videos, or writing guest editorials and blogs. This Fellowship opportunity will help generate a network of physicians of color from across the country who are experts on climate, health and equity.

“As African American physicians, we see more patients with asthma, allergies, heat stress, exacerbation of chronic disease, complications of pregnancy, and other health impacts from climate change,” said Dr. Garfield Clunie, obstetrician and President of the National Medical Association. “It is important that we partner with the Consortium to educate physicians of color to help lead in our response to this health emergency.” 

In addition, we are launching the CHEF Alumni Engagement Network to help connect our 18 alumni to opportunities for leadership and education on a national level, and to offer opportunities for research, publication, mentoring and education to other health professionals from marginalized communities that are under-represented in medicine.  

“One of the key priorities of the Consortium is to help diversify the climate and health movement,” said Dr. Lisa Patel, Executive Director of the Consortium.  “The CHEF Program demonstrates our commitment towards this end.”

The 2023 Fellows are: Drs. Brianna Clark (Family Medicine, TX), Denice Cook-Norris (Pediatrics, IL), George Crawford (Surgery, AL), Larry Daniels (Family Medicine, LA), Alfred Glover (Podiatry, CA), Valeria Hairston (Podiatry, WI), Marcus Kawika Iwane (Internal Medicine, HI), Anna Lizama Clark (Obstetrics and Gynecology, FL), Esmeralda Morales (Pediatric Pulmonology, CA), Marcus Moreno (Psychiatry, CT), Denise Powell (Pediatrics, MS), Earl Stewart Jr. (Internal Medicine, GA), and Julian Watkins (Internal Medicine, NY). 

The Fellowship program is staffed by a dedicated team, including, Dr. Mark Mitchell, Fellowship Director, Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, Deputy Fellowship Director, Dr. Venise Curry, Associate Program Director; Dr. Kimberly Williams, Eastern Program Manager; Jordan Curry Carter, Western Program Manager, and Clarissa Peyton, Program Assistant.

Support for the Fellowship is being provided by generous donations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Johnson & Johnson, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the American College of Physicians, Energy Foundation, and the American Medical Association, in cooperation with the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, the Association of American Indian Physicians and Virginia Sea Grant. 

Contact Dr. Kimberly Williams or Dr. Mark Mitchell for more information.