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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
05.17.2014 - 05.20.2014

Join Barton Seaver, Director for the Healthy and Sustainable Food program, during his presentation on sustainability and health trends in menu development.

05.14.2014 - 05.16.2014

Over the past 17 years, the Nantucket Wine Festival has become one of the most celebrated wine and food events in the country. Barton Seaver, Director of the...



Decision-Making: Voices from the Field Leadership Series invites you to Attend...
The Love Canal Story of Leadership
A Conversation with Lois Gibbs, Executive Director, Center for Health, Environment and Justice...



Through his wide-ranging travels as a National Geographic Explorer, Barton Seaver has researched the confluence of ecology and human health. He will discuss the risks and opportunities created by our current food systems and how our...


Dr. Alex Lu investigates the link between pesticides and bee colony collapse disorder.

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 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

The Center's Climate, Energy, and Health program helps policymakers, business leaders, and the general public think comprehensively about our meeting energy needs while also safeguarding against the effects of climate change.
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The Healthy and Sustainable Food program informs consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities. 

The Corporate Sustainability and Health program supports corporations across all sectors in measuring and accelerating the ways in which they help the world become a healthier, more sustainable place.

The Healthy and Sustainable Food program informs consumers and institutions about how our choices for diet and menus can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies, and thriving communities.