Climate Change, Disruption, and Health Equity

Friday March 24, 2023 12:00pm to 1:00pm

As climate-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, and extreme temperatures become more common, humans are being exposed to unique combinations of health hazards and stressors, which are often inequitably distributed across the population. A panel of experts will discuss how climate change and climate disasters impact health outcomes for different populations and exacerbates health inequities, their impact on health systems, and how we can better prepare for and mitigate the health impacts of a changing climate.


Sue Anne Bell, PhD, FNP-BC

Assistant Professor, Department of Systems, Populations and Leadership

University of Michigan School of Nursing

Dr. Bell is a nurse scientist and family nurse practitioner, with expertise in disaster response, community health and emergency care. Her research focuses broadly on the health effects of disasters and the impact of climate change on human health within a health equity framework. She is particularly interested in the long-term impact of disasters on human’s health, in developing policy that protects and promotes health throughout the disaster management cycle, and in the relationship between community resilience, health disparities and disasters.

Elizabeth Fussell, PhD

Professor, Population Studies and Environment and Society

Brown University

Elizabeth Fussell is a sociologist and demographer. She joined Brown University and the PSTC in 2014. Her research focuses on environmental drivers of migration and social inequalities in migration, health, and other post-disaster outcomes. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the Springer journal, Population & Environment.

Michael Mann, PhD

Presidential Distinguished Professor and Director of Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media

School of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Michael Mann is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. His research focuses on climate science and climate change. He was selected by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002, was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geophysical Union in 2012. He made Bloomberg News‘ list of fifty most influential people in 2013.  He has received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education, the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate, the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the AAAS, the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union and the Leo Szilard Award of the American Physical Society. He received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2019 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2020. He is a Fellow of the AGU, AMS, GSA, AAAS and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is co-founder of, author of more than 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications, numerous op-eds and commentaries, and five books including Dire Predictions, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, The Madhouse Effect, The Tantrum that Saved the World, and The New Climate War.

Sacoby Wilson, PhD, MS

Director, Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health, and Professor, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health

University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health

Dr. Wilson is an environmental health scientist with expertise in environmental justice and environmental health disparities. His primary research interests are related to issues that impact underserved, socially and economically disadvantaged, marginalized, environmental justice, and health disparity populations - including issues such as environmental justice, air pollution, housing disparities, built environment, climate change, drinking water quality, food justice, Port of Charleston, sewer and water infrastructure, goods movement, traffic exposure and health disparities, community-university environmental health partnerships, industrial animal production, exposures for subsistence fishers, and community revitalization.

Courtney Boen, PhD, MPH (moderator)

Assistant Professor of Sociology

School of Arts and Sciences

Courtney Boen, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor and Axilrod Faculty Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Research Associate in the Penn Population Studies Center and Population Aging Research Center and an Affiliate in the Center for the Study for Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration at the Penn. Dr. Boen’s research focuses on the social determinants of population health inequality, with particular attention to the social factors producing racial, immigrant-native, and socioeconomic health inequities across the life span. Utilizing biomarkers of physiological functioning and aging and a variety of analytic techniques, her work aims to improve scientific understanding how macro-level social inequality shapes micro-level biophysiological processes to produce health disparities from birth through late life.