Federal Initiatives on Climate Change and Human Health

- Session Description (click to collapse)

As part of a broader effort to make the U.S. Global Change Research Program more responsive to societal needs, a new Interagency Workgroup on Climate Change and Human Health was chartered in December 2009. This followed soon after the creation of a climate change program within the National Center for Environmental Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and occurred as the National Institutes of Health were developing and funding their first grants dedicated to the health aspects of climate change.

The public health community is viewed as a potential model for developing an “end-to-end” approach to the provision of scientific information. Medicine and public health have a long tradition of and dedicated infrastructure for translating scientific advances in the laboratory to applications in clinical and real-world settings. Public health is also viewed as a model for communicating challenging messages to the general public.

This presentation will review federal initiatives on climate change and human health and discuss potential ways for academic institutions to provide input and collaborate with federal partners.

- Moderator (click to collapse)

John Balbus

John M. Balbus serves as a senior advisor to the Director on public health issues and as the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) liaison to that institute’s external constituencies, stakeholders, and advocacy groups. He also leads NIEHS efforts on climate changeand human health. In this capacity, he serves as the Department of Health and Human Services principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, for which he also co-chairs the Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health. Dr. Balbus’ background combines training and experience in clinical medicine with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, and risk sciences. He has authored studies and lectures on global climate change and health, transportation-related air pollution, the toxic effects of chemicals, and regulatory approaches to protecting susceptible subpopulations.

Before joining the NIEHS, Dr. Balbus was Chief Health Scientist for the non-governmental organization Environmental Defense Fund. From 1995 to 2002, he served on the faculty of The George Washington University, where he was founding Director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health, founding co-Director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, and Acting Chairman of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. He maintains an adjunct faculty appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition to current membership on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, Dr. Balbus has also served as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board, the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, and the EPA Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the Society of Toxicology.


M.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1994
M.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1987
A.B., Biochemistry, Harvard University, 1982



Attached are the presentation slides in pdf.