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EPA’s Gina McCarthy heads “Action in Climate Change and Health” Event Held on the Eve of UN Climate Summit

September 19, 2014

McCarthy, U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak Join Event Convened by Public Health Institute and Leading Organizations in Health and Public Health


Climate change affects our health as surely as it affects our planet. The looming impacts—vector-borne diseases emerging in new locations, asthma and respiratory illness exacerbated by smog and wildfires, nutrition and food security issues from drought and other extreme weather events—may not be drawing much public attention, but they will draw our nation’s leaders to an event on Monday happening in New York in conjunction with the UN Climate Summit.


The EPA’s Gina McCarthy, Acting U.S. Surgeon; General Boris Lushniak; Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and the Environment Department at the World Health Organization; and Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet will speak at the “Action in Climate Change and Health” event held the day before the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York.


The event is co-hosted by the Public Health Institute, American College of Sports Medicine, Global Climate and Health Alliance and University of Wisconsin-Madison.  It will explore the numerous health benefits of climate mitigation, the threats climate change poses to health and the path toward a sustainable and healthy future. The hosts and the discussions pull from multiple sectors—emphasizing that climate change and health is something that impacts us all, and that solutions must come from all sectors as well. Topics will include food and agriculture, active transportation and community design, and energy and air pollution.


The event will take place on Monday, September 22, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT in the Regency Room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The event is at capacity, but press passes are available.


“Climate change is one of the greatest health challenges of our times—but it is also an incredible opportunity,” says Mary A. Pittman, CEO and President of the Public Health Institute. “By addressing climate change in the right ways – with clean energy, sustainable agriculture and access to healthier foods, and by designing our cities to support active transportation like walking and biking instead of sitting in traffic – we could vastly improve health. And the cost savings from better health would substantially offset the costs of climate mitigation.”


Speakers include:

  • RADM Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General
  • Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr. Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organization
  • Carlos Dora, M.D., Ph.D., Health policy expert with the World Health Organization
  • Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet
  • John M. Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Advisor for Public Health to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists
  • Alessandro Demaio, M.D., Global Health Fellow in Non-Communicable Diseases, Harvard Medical School and Copenhagen School of Global Health
  • Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Genon Jensen, Executive Director, Health and Environment Alliance
  • Josh Karliner, Director of Global Projects , Health Care Without Harm
  • Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program
  • Jonathan Patz, Professor & Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
  • Janet Walberg Rankin, Ph.D.. Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech and Founder, ActivEarth initiative
  • Linda Rudolph, M.D., MPH, Co-Director, Center for Climate Change & Health, Public Health Institute
  • James F. Sallis, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at University of California, San Diego and Director of Active Living Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
  • Gunhild Stordalen, Co-founder & Chair of Stordalen Foundation and CEO of GreeNudge
  • Asterio Takesy, Ambassador, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Jeffrey E. Thompson, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Boards, and pediatric intensivist and neonatologist at Gundersen Health System
  • Cristina Tirado, Chair, International Union of Nutritional Sciences’ Task Force for Climate and Nutrition


For more information about the “Action in Climate Health” Civil Society Event, including a full list of panel discussions, visit www.climatehealth-sideevent.org.


The Public Health Institute addresses climate change and health in California, nationally and internationally. PHI has helped ensure the full implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, reduce diesel emissions, preventing thousands of asthma attacks as a result, while also working with farmers and food advocates to create more robust and sustainable food systems.  PHI recently launched the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, a network of health and public health professionals dedicated to addressing the threats of climate change to health.


For more information contact Ann Whidden, awhidden@phi.org, 415.425.5157

Interviews and photo opportunities will be available on-site.

About the Public Health Institute 

The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit www.phi.org.