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About Us

About Us

The Center was founded in 1996 to study and promote a wider understanding of the human health consequences of global environmental change. 


The Center is an official Collaborating Center of the U.N. Environmental Programme, and is one of the most trusted sources of information on this subject in the world. 

News & Events


Food waste and climate change? Learn about the connection, and how finding a fix to food waste can help alleviate hunger and greenhouse gas emissions.

Come hear John Mandyck, a member of our Corporate Council and the Chief...

10.19.2015 - 10.22.2015


The Center for Health and the Global Environment offers best-in-class executive education programs in Sustainability Leadership to senior leaders from all sectors.

Through these selective programs, leaders representing a...


How do we know that green buildings are good for our health? We use sensors to track performance. Learn the science behind using these sensors to measure a building's impact on human health. 

Join Joseph G. Allen,...


Join Joseph G. Allen, Program Leader for Buildings and Health in our Nature, Health, and Built Environment Program, to explore the potential human health benefits of green buildings. 

Green building design is becoming broadly...


The world is becoming increasingly urban. Factors such as overcrowding, air pollution, excessive noise, and a lack of access to nature contribute to the...

The mission of the Center is to help people understand that our health, and that of our children, depends on the health of the environment, and that we must do everything we can to protect it.

The  Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was founded in 1996 to research and communicate the connections between human health and our environment, and to accelerate the changes needed to ensure a healthy, sustainable, and prosperous future. 

To realize our mission and catalyze change, we:

  • Conduct research and translate knowledge into concrete, personal terms that everyone can relate to.
  • Inform policy by bringing the latest and best science into legislative decisions.
  • Convene today’s thought leaders to advance strategies for creating a healthy world.
  • Educate and inspire tomorrow’s leaders so that they may influence the direction of their chosen fields towards a more sustainable future.
  • Empower key stakeholders to make decisions that will protect for our health and the health of the environment.

All programs share several common audiences, including business leaders, policymakers, physicians, scientists, public health officials, media, faith communities, educators, and students at all ages and levels. We also provide specific groups with nuanced information to support the advancement of human health and sustainability within their respective fields. 


The Center translates the often abstract and technical terms of environmental and medical science into everyday language and creates unique, high-quality reports and articles, and award-winning digital learning tools, classroom curricula, videos, and books. Additionally, we engage global audiences through media appearances, online courses, public lectures, symposia, webinars, and conferences. Together, these activities and materials reach millions of people, informing them about the human health dimensions of environmental change.


The Center was founded by Drs. Eric Chivian and Paul Epstein, and is now under the leadership of Director John D. Spengler Ph.D. and Associate Director Aaron Bernstein M.D., M.P.H. Our founders’ vision is woven into everything we do, and will continue to be so as we forge our way into the future.  

Current Programs

Helps policymakers, business leaders, and the general public think comprehensively about meeting our energy needs while also safeguarding against the effects of climate change. 
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Supports corporations across all sectors in measuring and accelerating the ways in which they help the world become a healthier, more sustainable place. 
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Offers best-in-class executive education programs introducing senior leaders to a powerful model for creating agile, innovative, and profoundly change-capable organizations that are inspired to rise to the greatest challenges of the 21st centuryincluding bringing humankind into a sustainable relationship with our planetary life support systems.  

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Informs consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. 
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Helps tourism industry leaders, policy makers, and civil society ensure that tourism improves the health and well-being of people and ecosystems worldwide.
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Provides evidence-based recommendations that help policymakers, urban designers, and physicians make informed decisions that support healthy communities.
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Trains investors, government officials, and academics to create frameworks that help entrepreneurs gain access to funding to launch their innovative, sustainable business ideas.
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