Climate & Health Physican Policy Fellowship
Established in 2017, the first of its kind in the USA
Fellowship Goal: To train physicians to create leaders in the field of climate change and health. This training program seeks to empower physicians through education and successful communication skills and to characterize the impact of these changes on our collective health.
Our Fellowship is growing and is in partnership with 5 Federal agencies (CDC, EPA, HHS, NOAA, USGCRP) and numerous NGOs working on issues of climate change & health.
The Climate & Health Foundation Physician Fellowship in Climate & Health Science Policy, University of Colorado, CO.
This Fellowship is a 12-month program hosted by the University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine. The Fellowship is based in the University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine.
In July 2021, we welcomed our first five National Climate & Health Science Policy Fellows. These health care professionals have varied board certifications and come from different parts of the country.
Physician Fellowship Directors
Dr Jay Lemery
Co - Fellowship Director
The University Of Colorado School Of Medicine
Jay Lemery, MD, Is A Professor Of Emergency Medicine At The University Of Colorado School Of Medicine, Chief Of The Section Of Wilderness And Environmental Medicine, And Faculty In The Department Of Environmental And Occupational Health At The Colorado School Of Public Health. He Is A Past-President Of The Wilderness Medical Society.
Dr. Lemery has expertise in austere and remote medical care, as well as the effects of climate change on human health. He sits on the National Academy of Medicine’s (IOM) Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine and is currently the Medical Director for the National Science Foundation’s Polar Research program. He is a physician consultant to the Exploration Medical Capability Element of NASA’s Human Research Program. From 2014-2016, he was the EMS Medical Director for the United States Antarctic Program. More information.
Dr John Balbus
Fellowship Director, Federal Partnerships
Office of Climate Change and Health Equity within OASH
Dr. Balbus is the Interim Director of the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity within OASH. A physician and public health professional with over 25 years of experience working on the health implications of climate change, Dr. Balbus has served as HHS Principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program and co-chair of the working group on Climate Change and Human Health for the U.S. Global Change Research Program since he joined the federal government in 2009. Before coming over to the new Office, Dr. Balbus served as Senior Advisor for Public Health to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Prior to joining NIEHS, Dr. Balbus was the Chief Health Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and an Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services. He received his MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University.
Dr Rosemary Rochford
Co-Director, Climate & Health Program
The University Of Colorado School Of Medicine
Dr. Rochford is a Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with an adjunct appointment in the Environmental and Occupational Health in the Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Rochford is the co-Director for the University of Colorado Climate and Health Program, and founding Director of the Colorado Consortium on Climate Change and Health. Dr. Rochford's research focuses on malaria, a climate sensitive disease, and the interaction with human viruses, EBV and KSHV. She has research programs based in Kenya and Uganda. Her research is funded through the National Institutes for Health, Medicine for Malaria Venture, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr Cecilia Sorenson
Co - Fellowship Director
CU Fellow, 2017-2018 & 2018-2019
Cecilia Sorensen, MD is the Director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia Irving Medical Center and Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.
As a physician-investigator at the nexus of climate change and human health, translating research into policy, clinical action, and education in order to build resilience in vulnerable communities is the focus of her research. Her recent work has spanned domestic as well as international emergent health issues related to climate change, including, heat stress and worker health in Guatemala, wildfires and health care utilization in the United States, the emergence of Zika virus in Ecuador following the Earthquake of 2016, climate change and women’s health in India and mortality following hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. She currently serves on the working group for the National Academy of Medicine’s Climate and Human Health Initiative. She has served as an author for the U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment and serves as a technical advisor for the Lancet Climate and Health U.S. Policy Brief. She lectures nationally and internationally, publishes in high impact journals and her work has been featured in mainstream media outlets like National Public Radio and the New York Times.
She is a member of the Colorado Consortium for Climate Change, a scientific advisor for the Citizens Climate Lobby and the course director for the nations’ first medical school course on climate change and human health. She also directs the National Climate-Health Fellowship, a post-residency training program for physicians.
Dr. Sorensen received her Doctor of Medicine from Drexel University College of Medicine and completed a four-year emergency medicine residency at Denver Health. Following residency training, she completed a 2-year fellowship in climate change and human health policy through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
Physician Fellowship Graduates
Dr Caitlin Rublee
Medical College of Wisconsin
CU Fellow, 2019-2020
Caitlin Rublee, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and faculty at the Institute for Health and Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She serves as the current chair of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Climate Change and Health Interest Group and is on the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action. Scholarly work has addressed the impact of dust storms on intensive care unit admissions, the management of heatstroke, strengthening emergency care systems in low-resource settings, reducing waste in emergency departments, and climate change education for health professionals. She has presented nationally and internationally on building health care facility resilience against extreme weather events. Dr. Rublee is the clinical correlates editor for the second edition of Global Climate Change and Human Health textbook. She remains dedicated to advancing public health and equity through cross-sector collaboration and advocacy.
Dr Caleb Dresser
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Fellow, 2019-2021
Caleb Dresser is an Emergency Medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where his academic work focuses on the health implications of Climate Change and he helps run the Fellowship in Climate and Human Health. He is also a fellow at The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard.
Caleb’s current work focuses on the means to address health needs during and after climate-related disasters, with particular attention to heat waves, tropical cyclones, and wildfire. He is currently studying the hazards posed by extreme heat events, fire, and weather-related electrical outages, including the threat that these can pose to patients with specific medical vulnerabilities. He is also interested in the long-term health impacts of hurricanes and other climate-related disasters, including issues of prolonged loss of access to medical services and temporary and permanent migration of affected populations.
Caleb Dresser was the inaugural Fellow in Climate and Human Health in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (2019 to 2021) and is a recent graduate of the Master of Public Health program at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He completed his medical education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and his residency in Emergency Medicine through the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Dr Hanna Linstadt
CU Fellow, 2020-2021
Hanna Linstadt, MD, is practicing full time in a community emergency department in Northern California and is the Chairperson of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine’s Climate Change and Health Interest Group. She was the Climate and Health Foundation Fellow in Climate and Health Science Policy for the 2020-2021 academic year and a clinical instructor in emergency medicine at the University of Colorado. She attended medical school at New York Medical College and completed her emergency medicine residency training at Stanford University, where she also served as chief resident. While at Stanford, she became interested in the connection between climate and human health as well as how the health care system itself contributes to climate change.
Dr Stefan Wheat
CU Fellow, 2021-2022
Stefan Wheat, MD is the Climate and Health Science Policy fellow for the 2021-2022 academic year. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Stefan is the son of two primary care physicians. He received his BA in Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and his MD from The University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, VT. He is currently completing his residency training in emergency medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. His background includes curriculum development as a Global Health Scholar at the University of Vermont and conservation work building wildlife corridors in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. His research includes work in ecology with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and in microbiology studying alternatives to antibiotics for treating drug resistant bacterial infections. His research and clinical interests include climate health, health equity, indigenous health, global health, and wilderness/austere medicine. Stefan believes that human health and environmental health are intimately linked and looks forward to exploring new ways to advocate for both.
Physician Fellows 2021-2022
Dr Bhargavi (Bhar) Chekur
Bhargavi (Bhar) Chekuri, MD is a practicing family physician based in Washington, D.C. She is a current National Climate & Health Science Policy Fellow at the CU Anschutz School of Medicine. Her areas of interest include the intersection of primary care, community medicine, population health and climate change with a focus on systems medicine. As a fellow, she is working with the US Global Change Research Program, the Payne Institute of Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines ad ecoAmerica. She is also co-directing a climate medicine course at the CU Anschutz School of Medicine. Prior to fellowship, she completed her residency training at the New Hampshire Dartmouth Family Residency Program and received her medical degree from the University of Queensland in Australia.
Dr Emily Sbiroli
Dr. Sbiroli is a practicing emergency medicine physician in San Diego, California. Dr. Sbiroli recently completed her residency at UC San Diego including one year as Chief Resident while developing her passion for understanding the impacts of climate change on human health and how the health care sector can decrease its carbon footprint. Dr. Sbiroli has given numerous talks and presentations throughout the country to a wide variety of audiences, including students ranging from high school to graduate health professionals, practicing clinicians, and lay audiences on the topics of climate and health, and health care sector sustainability. She has presented on climate and health at California’s American College of Emergency Physicians, and FemInEM in New York City. In 2019 she was named an Emerging Physician Leader by Health Care Without Harm’s Physician Network. As a National Physician Fellow, she is currently working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Health Care Without Harm.
Dr Beth Gillespie
Dr. Gillespie, MD FACP is a Hospitalist at Denver Health Medical Center, and Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at University of Colorado - Anschutz. She is a Masters Candidate in Epidemiology through the Colorado School of Public Health. Dr. Gillespie's primary professional interest is in clinical research and education surrounding the climate and health nexus, with particular focus on understanding the ideal role for local health systems in climate change mitigation and adaptation. She held a leadership position (January 2017 - June 2020) representing the Society of General Internal Medicine on the Steering Committee for The Medical Consortium on Climate Change and Health, and in 2019 completed a two-year clinical research fellowship focused on climate change and health through the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science - University of Colorado School of Medicine. Current fellowship projects include: various communications and research mentored by CDC's Climate and Health Program; community-level heat and health equity research in Denver; and expansion of medical trainee-level climate and planetary health education at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Gillespie currently directs the School's fourth year elective on climate and health.
Dr Eric Balaban
Eric Balaban graduated from Penn State Hershey College of Medicine in 2018 and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Colorado in 2021. His interest in policy began with organized medicine in the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the American Medical Association where he served on the convention and standing house coordination committees. During residency he served on the counsel for legislation and political action committee within Colorado Medical Society.
Eric now works in Pittsburgh as a hospitalist alongside his career in the Army National Guard as a field physician. His primary interest is in catalyzing climate-conscious clinical care and the incorporation of climate-education within organized medicine.