Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Web Forum: Climate Change, Equity, and Health--How Funders Can Make a Difference

November 14, 2014

Climate change is a known “threat multiplier,” posing the greatest danger for communities already bearing the burden of health and environmental challenges. To slow the effects of worsening air and water quality, higher food prices, hotter temperatures, and extreme weather events, particularly for the low-income people and communities of color at greatest risk, immediate and widespread action is imperative. The good news is that strategies to slow climate change in communities over the long term also present a unique opportunity to promote community health and equity in the short term. 

On December 16th, 2014, the Public Health Institute convened leading experts in climate and philanthropy for a funders-only briefing on climate change, equity, and health.

Watch the full presentation:





Topics included:


  • Climate change through the lens of the social determinants of health
  • The long-term and immediate health and equity benefits of climate change strategies
  • Ways health, equity and environmental funders can multiply their impact



  • Karla Fortunato, Director, Health & Environmental Funders Network
  • Faith Mitchell, President & CEO, Grantmakers In Health, moderator
  • Linda Rudolph, Director, Center for Climate Change and Health, Public Health Institute
  • Loel Solomon, National Director, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit and Partner, Convergence Partnership


Sponsored by The Convergence Partnership, Grantmakers in Health, and the Health and Environmental Funders Network.

Hosted by the Public Health Institute.






Karla Fortunato, MBA, Director, Health & Environmental Funders Network

Karla Fortunato is Director of the Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN). Prior to joining HEFN, she managed the budget and policy campaigns for Health Care For All, a Massachusetts health advocacy organization best known for the passage of the 2006 health care insurance reform law.  In addition, she provided guidance in the planning and establishment of the Public Policy Institute, an organization committed to building the infrastructure and skills of social justice organizations.

Ms. Fortunato holds an MBA from the George Washington University and a BA from Randolph-Macon Woman's College.  She currently serves on the Health Leadership Circle of MomentUs, a campaign to build personal and institutional support for climate change solutions. She served as a member of the Serving Communities Committee of the National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures and as a citizen representative on the Montgomery County Citizen's Advisory Board. Ms. Fortunato occasionally writes for HEFN's Giving InSight blog, and has been published in Health Affairs.  


Faith Mitchell, PhD, President & CEO, Grantmakers In Health

Faith Mitchell is President and CEO of Grantmakers In Health (GIH). Previously she served as Vice president for Program and Strategy at the organization. Before joining GIH, Dr. Mitchell was Senior Program Officer at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) where she was responsible for the health disparities portfolio. Dr. Mitchell spent 12 years at the National Academies, both at the IOM and as a Center Director in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Education. She has also held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State, The San Francisco Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Throughout her career, Dr. Mitchell has worked on the application of social science to domestic and international public policy, health policy, and programs. She is the coeditor of several reports, including Examining the Health Disparities Research Plan of the National Institutes of Health: Unfinished Business; Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies: Hispanics and the American Future; Hispanics and the Future of America; Terrorism: Perspectives from the Behavioral and Social Sciences; Discouraging Terrorism: Some Implications of 9/11; America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences; Governance and Opportunity in Metropolitan America; and Premature Death in the New Independent States. Dr. Mitchell holds a doctorate in medical anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.


Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Climate Change and Health

Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, directs the Public Health Institute’s Center for Climate Change and Health. She is also the principal investigator on a PHI project to advance the integration of Health in All Policies in local jurisdictions around California. Previously, Dr. Rudolph served as the deputy director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)’s Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Public Health and the health officer and public health director for the City of Berkeley, CA. While at CDPH, Dr. Rudolph chaired the Strategic Growth Council Health in All Policies Task Force and the California Climate Action Team Public Health Work Group.

Dr. Rudolph has also been the chief medical officer for Medi-Cal Managed Care, medical director for the California Division of Workers’ Compensation, executive medical director for the Industrial Medical Council, staff physician in the CDPH Occupational Health program, and a physician for the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers’ International Union. She received her doctorate in medicine and clinical training in pediatrics and emergency medicine from the University of California at San Francisco, and holds a master’s in public health from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Rudolph is board certified in occupational medicine.


Loel Solomon, PhD, MPP, National Director, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit and Partner, Convergence Partnership

Dr. Loel Solomon joined Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit Program in 2003 and currently serves as vice president for community health. In that position, Dr. Solomon works with other health plan and medical group leaders to establish the strategic direction for Kaiser Permanente’s multi-faceted approach to prevention and community health and develops national partnerships to advance those ends. He was a co-founder of the Healthy Eating/Active Living Convergence Partnership, a collaborative of national funders working to advance policy and environmental approaches to community health, and currently serves on the Convergence Partnership’s steering committee. Dr. Solomon also convenes Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit leaders and oversees the program’s evaluation and community health needs assessment activities. Prior to coming to Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Solomon served as deputy director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for Healthcare Quality and Analysis; a senior manager at the Lewin Group in Washington, D.C.; and as a member of Senator Edward Kennedy’s health staff.