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Climate and Health


Start Date: October 20, 2019

Duration: 4 weeks

About This Course

In the last 130 years, the world has warmed by approximately 0.85°C. Each of the last 3 decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since. Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and precipitation patterns are changing. Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent.

A changing climate impacts our health and wellbeing. Widespread scientific consensus exists that the world’s climate is changing. Some changes that could negatively affect health include more variable weather patterns, heat waves, heavy precipitation events, flooding, droughts, more intense storms, sea level rise, and air pollution. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Measuring the health effects from climate change can only be very approximate. Nevertheless, taking into account only a subset of the possible health impacts, and assuming continued economic growth and health progress, concluded that climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050; 38,000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48,000 due to diarrhea, 60,000 due to malaria, and 95,000 due to childhood undernutrition.

The course Climate and Health will be presented over a 4 week period with each consecutive week focusing on the following modules:

  1. Climate and Health
  2. Health and Disease
  3. Policies and Practices towards Climate and Health
  4. Ethical Considerations of Climate and Health
Participants can expect recorded presentations, live and interactive seminars and reading resources as the course content with discussions boards, case studies and seminar presentations for the assessment.

Course Staff

Gerardo Sanchez Martinez

Gerardo Sanchez Martinez

Senior Advisor, UNEP

Gerardo’s work focuses on the assessment of social, health and economic impacts of climate change, as well as on tracking the implementation and effectiveness of adaptation policy and activities. In particular, Gerardo specializes on the assessment and prevention of direct health and socioeconomic impacts of extreme weather events, including heat waves, in urban settings.

He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain), and a Master of Public Health from Boston University (USA) through a Fulbright Scholarship.!

Vintura Silva

Vintura Silva

Lead Assessor, UNFCCC

Bio Coming Soon...!

Daniel Buss

Daniel Buss

Advisor for Climate Change and Health, PAHO

Bio Coming Soon...!

Miriam Hinostroza

Miriam Hinostroza

Head, Climate Change Transparency and Accountability, UNEP

Miriam is an environmental economist with a PhD in Energy Planning. She has 22 years experience in the field of sustainable development that includes research, elegant leadership, strategic planning and project management. Her work covers research and policy advice on energy, development and climate change interactions. Her expertise includes mitigation policy analysis, institutional development, market and economic instruments and capacity building in the area of low carbon development and climate change mitigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the course free?

The course and all the content is absolutely free. Only those students who choose to take the exam for continuing education credit will be required to pay a fee.

What Materials are Required?

All required course material will be made available on SGU Online.

How can I receive credit for this course?

Upon successfully completing the requirements for the course, students can elect to gain eight (8) continuing professional development credits through the US National Board of Public Health Examiners ( by passing a comprehensive proctored examination with a score of greater than 70%. To apply for the credit, you will need to register for the comprehensive examination which will occur in week 5 of the course and pay a tuition fee of $50 USD to take the exam. The credit and the exam are optional components.

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