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The Yale School of Public Health's Climate Change and Health Certificate provides a deep dive into three domains professionals in public health and related fields must master to help their communities and organizations address the adverse health impacts of climate change:

  1. An overview of climate change and health
  2. Climate change adaptation
  3. Climate change health behavior and risk communication

The certificate consists of three six-week courses and one region specific short course (student will choose between South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Caribbean). that blend independent and real-time online learning. The format ensures a rich learning experience and provides the flexibility students need to balance their coursework with their careers. Throughout the courses, three themes are interwoven: The Impact of a Warming World: Climate change and health; Health Equity: Vulnerability and resilience; What Gets Better: Co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation.

Introduction to Climate Change and Health

Course Director: Daniel Carrión, Director of Education, Yale Center on Climate Change and Health

After exploring the fundamentals of climate change science, the course provides an overview of the adverse impacts of climate change on public health. Climate change causes increased frequency of extreme heat, extreme precipitation, floods, droughts, and wildfires. It also results in sea level rise and more intense hurricanes. Climate change transforms and degrades ecosystems and places stress on political, economic, and social systems. Resulting adverse health effects include heat-related illness; respiratory and allergic diseases; vector-borne, foodborne, and waterborne diseases; undernutrition; mental disorders; and the many negative health consequences of population displacement and violent conflict. The course introduces the public health strategies of adaptation and mitigation to reduce adverse health impacts of climate change and discusses the substantial non-climate health benefits of these strategies. Finally, the course emphasizes the concepts of vulnerability and health equity.

Following completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • At an introductory level, describe how the climate has changed, explain the role of greenhouse gases in climate change, and describe how the climate is predicted to change in the future.
  • Describe how climate change adversely impacts population health, with differing impacts across population sub-groups, through direct effects; through ecosystem transformation and degradation; and through the stress it places on political, economic, and social systems.
  • Explain how adaptation and mitigation strategies can reduce adverse health impacts of climate change and can generate substantial non-climate health benefits in a just and equitable manner.

Region Specific Short Courses

Meghtnath Dhilmal, PhD, MS, Course Director, South Asia short course

Robert Manteaw, PhD, MA, MsC, Course Director, Sub-Saharan Africa short course

Ayanna Alexander, MPH, Course Director, Caribbean short course

Climate change refers to a heterogenous set of impacts and projected changes that vary based on geography, local resources, and sociopolitical conditions. Policymakers, researchers, and advocates at the nexus of climate change and health must be familiar with the local context of impacts and conditions in order to design policies and interventions to address climate change and safeguard human health. Course 1 (Introduction to Climate Change and Health) provides an overview of the field of climate change and health while a region-specific short course (course 2) allows learners to hone and tailor their knowledge in one of three regions of the world: South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, or the Caribbean. Following this course, students will be familiar with region-specific needs, concerns, and opportunities.

Climate Adaptation for Human Health

Course Director: Elena Grossman, Research Specialist, University of Illinois Chicago

This course focuses on identifying adaptation strategies to address climate change, health, and equity.

Starting with defining key adaptation terms and data and how to use them to identify and prioritize opportunities for adaptation, the course then delves into different categories and types of strategies. Examples from the local, national, and international levels will be used to assess their successes, challenges, climate change mitigation and other human health co-benefits, and efforts to address equity. Finally, the course will provide systematic ways to engage communities and evaluate the adaptation strategies. Throughout, the course focuses on practical examples of adaptation strategies through an equity lens with a local and global perspective that practitioners can implement in their communities.

Following completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the types of data and key considerations used to assess and identify adaptation strategies for a community.
  • Describe at least 3 climate change adaptation and human health strategies along with which climate impact it addresses, whether it addresses climate change mitigation or other human health impacts, and how it can address equity.
  • Identify climate change and health adaptation opportunities in the student’s jurisdiction.
  • Design at least one climate change and health equity adaptation activity/intervention targeting a specified population or community.
  • Describe a systematic way to evaluate a climate change adaptation and health equity strategy.

Communicating Climate Change and Health

Course Director: Kristin Timm, Research Associate, Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center at the International Arctic Research Center

This course focuses on communicating about climate change and health, with a specific focus on how to engage a variety of audiences in adaptation actions that reduce risks, healthy behaviors with greenhouse gas mitigation benefits, and civic engagement and advocacy efforts. The course also focuses on how to have more and better climate conversations in a range of contexts and settings. Starting with a review of best practices in strategic communication, the course examines the specific challenges of climate change communication and effective strategies to address these challenges.

Following completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe how a range of audiences understand climate change and the health threats posed by climate change. Students will learn a variety of techniques for developing an understanding of the audiences they intend to work with.
  • Discuss the factors responsible for shaping people’s responses to climate change: individual characteristics; social influence; and the built environment.
  • Describe the role of cognitions – what people know – and affect – what they feel – in guiding individuals’ behaviors.
  • Select public information campaign strategies, including objectives, message content, channels, and sources appropriate for reaching segments of the populations with greater and lesser vulnerability to climate change impacts.
  • Have better conversations about climate change, in their personal lives, a clinical setting, or through other public forums.