Interdisciplinary Training in Climate and Health

Lead PI: Jeffrey Shaman

Unit Affiliation: Mailman School of Public Health

July 2014 - June 2020
North America ; Columbia University ; New York City, NY ; New York
Project Type: Outreach Education

DESCRIPTION: This application is for funds to support a program for interdisciplinary training in climate and health science. The Program will be administered through the Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Department at Columbia University and will establish a dedicated cohort of pre- and post-doctoral trainees who study a range of issues at the nexus of climate and health. These students will enter an established, rigorous interdisciplinary program of study within environmental health sciences through which they will acquire the expertise and critical thinking skills needed to address some of the most pressing health issues facing society today. The investigators' goal with this new program is to develop a new generation of forward-thinking researchers capable of independent interdisciplinary work as well as collaboration with scientists in both the climate and health fields. This development will take place in a rich, collegial atmosphere that supplements classroom instruction and research with training in writing, public speaking and teaching. The Training Program faculty consists of 24 active, well-funded researchers with extensive experience mentoring both pre-doctoral and postdoctoral trainees. These investigators have expertise spanning the climate, engineering, epidemiology, toxicology, agriculture and policy disciplines and are based in departments, centers and institutes throughout Columbia University, including: Environmental Health Sciences, the Department of Epidemiology, the Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan, the Columbia University Earth Institute, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, and the departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology. This training grant, along with further departmental and university support, will provide core funding with which to recruit talented Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral trainees into the Program. For the pre-doctoral trainees, program support will typically be provided for two years after which support will be shifted to a mentor's R01 grant or an individual fellowship. Open slots will then be free for the recruitment of new pre-doctoral trainees. The postdoctoral trainees will each be supported for two years though matching fellowship funds may be available from sources such as the Earth Institute. This T32 Climate and Health Training Program will build on the success of the existing overall EHS department pre- and post-doctoral programs. Graduates of the Environmental Health Science program have found excellent research and faculty positions, and are having an ongoing impact on a variety of public health fields. With this Climate and Health training grant, the investigators will expand an intensify training in interdisciplinary climate and health science. Such training will lead to improved scientific understanding that will ultimately inform climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, climate and carbon emissions policies, and improve the public health.