Almost one year has passed since the Burroughs Wellcome Fund partnered with the National Academy of Medicine to provide “opportunity grants” to interdisciplinary teams across the National Academies to explore promising ideas at the intersection of climate change and human health. The aim is to stimulate new, interdisciplinary projects across the National Academies, as well as to catalyze broader stakeholder across multiple sectors interests and engagement in these issues.
On February 25, 2021, The National Academy of Medicine and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and more than 90 invited guests heard updates about the innovative, interdisciplinary activities at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at the intersection of climate change and human health. Recognizing that climate change is among the most important and urgent global health threats and opportunities of the 21st century, NAM and BWF are continuing to partner to tackle this existential threat with a focus on its impacts on human health. BWF President and CEO Dr. Louis Muglia called it “the greatest challenge of the 21st Century with devastating consequences if we do not act now.”
This event reviewed the vision and priorities of the National Academies on climate and health, and highlighted the new NAM Grand Challenge on Human Health and Climate Change. In addition, updates were provided by the several burgeoning projects supported in partnership by the NAM and BWF, which consist of cross-sectoral teams across the National Academies exploring the impacts of climate change on human health. These discussions encompassed climate change and children’s health, mental health, food systems, carbon emissions, and more.
This showcase was an opportunity to move climate and health science and policy forward, while developing synergies for potential partnerships across the public and private sectors.
Dr. Muglia added, “The partnership between the NAM and BWF serves as an aspirational and important model for advancing science, research, and policy. Addressing climate change impacts on health cannot be undertaken by one institution or organization alone, and requires collaboration across the non-profit, academic, federal, and philanthropic sectors.”