Director, Biodiversity and Human Health Program
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Eric Chivian is Founder of the Center for Health and the Global Environment and directs the Biodiversity and Human Health Progam. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In 1980, he co-founded (with Professors Bernard Lown, Herbert Abrams, and James Muller) International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. During the past 18 years, he has worked to involve physicians in the United States and abroad in efforts to protect the environment, and to increase public understanding of the potential human health consequences of global environmental change. He was senior editor and author of MIT Press' Critical Condition: Human Health and the Environment. The book, published in 1993, the first on the subject for a general audience, has been used as a text at several medical schools, schools of public health, and universities in the United States and abroad. Editions have been published in German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Persian. This was Dr. Chivian's 2nd book -his first, for which he was senior editor and author, was Last Aid: The Medical Dimensions of Nuclear War, published by W.H. Freeman and Company (Scientific American) in 1982, which also appeared in German, Italian, and Japanese editions.
In 1996, Dr. Chivian founded and became director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, the first center at a medical school in the United States focusing on the human health dimensions of global environmental change. The Center (designated an official "Collaborating Center" of the United Nations Environment Programme) developed and directed the Harvard Medical School course "Human Health and Global Environmental Change" (which has been disseminated to 65 other medical schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S. and abroad), and has held 20 briefings and taught an intensive annual course on the environment and health for the U.S. Congress.
Dr. Chivian is the senior editor and author, with Dr. Aaron Bernstein, of Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, published in June, 2008 by Oxford University Press and co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the U.N.'s Convention on Biological Diversity, and the World Conservation Union. The book, launched at U.N. headquarters and at the Smithsonian Institution, is the most comprehensive report available on the relationship of human health to the natural world.
In 2008, Dr. Chivian was named by Time Magazine, along with the Rev. Richard Cizik, Former Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, for their work in organizing scientists and Evangelicals to join together in efforts to protect the global environment.
Dr. Chivian has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has appeared on national television and radio and in the print media in numerous countries. He has over 100 publications.