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Yale School of Public Health to Offer Online Climate Change and Health Certificate

May 15, 2018

The Yale School of Public Health will offer a new 18-week, online certificate program on climate change and health beginning in September 2018—the first online certificate program focused on this topic offered by a U.S. school of public health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, and the World Health Organization have identified the need to train professionals working in public health and related areas to better address the negative consequences of climate change on human health. The Climate Change and Health Certificate will provide a toolkit for participants to understand the impacts of climate change on human health and practical strategies to enable them to use this knowledge to effect change.

The online certificate program includes three six-week courses:

  • Introduction to Climate Change and Health
  • Climate Adaptation for Human Health
  • Communicating Climate Change and Health

Throughout the courses, three themes are interwoven:

  1. The Impact of a Warming World: Climate Change and Health;
  2. Health Equity: Vulnerability and Resilience;
  3. What Gets Better: Co-benefits of Mitigation and Adaptation.

The online certificate is designed to allow working professionals to balance Yale coursework with their careers. Each week students will spend approximately five hours working on the course and will enjoy a rich learning experience that includes video-based lectures from faculty; live, online check-ins with faculty; and opportunities to work independently and with peers in small-group discussions. Led by the Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative, each course in the certificate will be taught by a climate change and health expert from Yale School of Public Health or a partner institution.

“We look forward to launching this online program and training the first cohort of professionals. Climate change is a looming threat to human health and the Yale School of Public Health is committed to providing the training needed to address it,” said Professor Robert Dubrow, M.D., Ph.D., faculty director of the Climate Change and Health Certificate.

Yale’s certificate is designed for a range of professionals, including state and local public health workers, clinicians and other health care professionals, policymakers, environmental health professionals, advocates and government officials. Some participants may hold graduate or undergraduate degrees in public health or a related field, while others may not have an educational background in public health—the commonality among all will be their commitment to protecting the health of populations using the knowledge and skills they gain in the program. There will be a fixed start and end date for each course in the certificate, so a cohort of engaged and supportive learners studying together will be formed, further enhancing the educational experience and creating a lasting network of professional peers for participants. To ensure maximal student and faculty engagement, enrollment in the program will be limited to 100 students during each bi-annual offering of the certificate, and each small discussion group will have no more than 15 participants.

The cost for the certificate is $1,500, while a single six-week course is $695. Two full-tuition scholarships will be awarded to outstanding professionals working with low-income communities. Additionally, tuition discounts are available to Yale affiliates, those with financial need, and members of select professional organizations, all of which are described in detail on the program website:

This program does not offer academic credit; however, Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit will be offered as this activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ . Students who have never taken an online course need not worry, as everyone in the program will take a short course, “Introduction to Online Learning,” designed to prepare them to take full advantage of the online format.

Climate change is a looming threat to human health and the Yale School of Public Health is committed to providing the training needed to address it.

Robert Dubrow

Course Details

Introduction to Climate Change and Health

The course explores climate change science and introduces the adverse impacts of climate change on public health. It then discusses health impacts such as heat-related illness; acute and chronic diseases worsened by climate change; undernutrition; mental disorders; health consequences of population displacement and violent conflict. Finally, the course introduces public health adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce adverse health impacts and discusses their substantial non-climate health benefits.

Climate Adaption for Human Health

The course defines adaptation through detailed examples representing varied spatial and temporal scales. It also teaches the use of vulnerability assessments to identify and prioritize opportunities for adaptation. Finally, it delves into the iterative stages of planning, implementation, and improvement for successful adaptation action.

Communicating Climate Change and Health

The course focuses on communicating with the public about climate change-associated health risks, and on protective actions individuals can take to reduce these risks, both through personal risk reduction behaviors and collective actions to advocate for legislative and regulatory changes. It then reviews best practices in health risk communication. Finally, it examines the specific challenges of climate change communication and effective strategies to address them.

“Global warming and climate change are among our most profound threats to human health. We at the Yale School of Public Health are committed to discovering and implementing solutions to address this 21st Century emergency,” said Dean Sten Vermund.

For further information on the certificate or to apply, visit

Submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on May 14, 2018