MPH Context Certificate: Climate Change and Health

Climate change—impacting water supply, air, food, and infectious/vector-borne diseases—has been identified as one of the biggest global health threats of the 21st century. Health effects of climate change may occur directly (due to changes in temperature, precipitation, and/or the occurrence of tropical cyclones, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and wildfires) or indirectly (through social responses to climate change, such as displacement of populations following hurricanes and associated flooding or prolonged drought). Additionally, climate change is an environmental justice issue, both because of disproportionate exposures to climate change in lower-income communities and communities of color and because those most impacted are least likely to contribute to or benefit from the anthropogenic activities that lead to a changing climate.

This 12-credit context certificate provides students with state-of-the-art practice tools for understanding and evaluating the mechanisms and health effects of climate change, the risks associated with exposure, and the importance of equitable solutions and communication for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Students will analyze primary environmental data, learn methods for assessing exposure to climate hazards, and be introduced to scholars and residents from disproportionately impacted communities and important concepts of climate mitigation and adaptation.

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  • Identify the primary exposures relevant to climate change and its impacts on human health.
  • Utilize appropriate methodologies to study climate change, including timescale and etiology of exposure response, interventions to reduce health impacts of climate and their effectiveness, and epidemiologic study designs specific to climate and health.
  • Discuss key public health activities for climate change–related exposures, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, storms, and other extreme weather events; and infectious and vector-borne diseases.
  • Identify the major causes of health disparities associated with climate change exposures and health outcomes and the interactive nature of systemic issues of race and socioeconomic status with climate exposures.
  • Critically assess the primary communications regarding climate and health, including academic literature, public reports and white papers, and news media.

Course Requirements

Choose one of the following (required):

  • SPH EH 720 Climate Change and Health (4 cr)
  • SPH EH 722 Climate Change and Health Inequities (4 cr)
  • SPH EH 727 Incorporating Health to Design Healthy Climate Solutions (4 cr)

Choose an additional 8 credits from the courses below or from the list above:

  • SPH EH 811 Intro GIS for Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH EH 866 Health Risk Assessment (4 cr)
  • SPH GH 755 Managing Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 712 Public Health Responses to Emergencies in the United States (2 cr)
  • SPH PH 737 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Public Health Decision Making (2 cr)