Climate Change & Health


Email:  Twitter: @DrAriBernstein

Ari Bernstein

Interim Director, Climate Change & Health Initiative

Aaron (Ari) Bernstein is a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bernstein focuses on the health impacts of the climate crisis on children’s health and healthcare, and on advancing solutions to address its causes to improve the health and well-being of children around the world.

At Harvard, he serves as the Assistant Faculty Lead to the Harvard Global Health Institute’s Climate and Health Initiative and the co-Director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In 2015, he was awarded a Lokey-Businesswire visiting professorship at Stanford University and has also been a visiting professor at Columbia University. Dr. Bernstein has been a member of the Harvard President’s Climate Change Task Force and co-Chairs the University Food Standards Committee.

He serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee, the Board of Scientific Counselors to the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and is Chair of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, he received graduate degrees in medicine (MD) and public health (MPH), from the University of Chicago and Harvard University, respectively. He is a recipient of Stanford University’s Firestone Medal for Research and a Harvard University Zuckerman Fellowship.

An avid bicyclist, Dr. Bernstein pedals to and from work year-round.


Email: Twitter: @ReneeNSalas_MD

Renee Salas

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Renee N. Salas is Affiliated Faculty and previous Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is also a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Salas served as the lead author for the 2018 and 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief and will again in 2020. Dr. Salas was a Co-Director for the first Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice Symposium and launched the broader Initiative in partnership with The New England Journal of Medicine and serves on the planning committee for the National Academy of Medicine’s Climate Change and Human Health Initiative. She engages in research on how climate change is impacting the healthcare system and developing evidence-based adaptation. She lectures on climate and health nationally and internationally, has published in high impact journals, and her work and expertise has been featured in mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, NPR, Time, and the Associated Press. Her Doctor of Medicine is from the innovative five-year medical school program to train physician-investigators at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine with a Master of Science in Clinical Research from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her Master of Public Health degree is from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a concentration in environmental health.





Carissa Novak

Program Manager

Carissa Novak manages the Pandemics and Climate Change portfolios at HGHI. Prior to joining HGHI, she worked at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with an ecology and infectious disease research team, where she spent a significant amount of time working in rural Madagascar.

She has also worked at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, managing a sexual assault research network; leading the first ever prospective study of sexual assault trauma in adult women. She has spent time living and working in rural Kenya and Uganda, studying barriers to reproductive healthcare, specifically in seeking treatment for HPV and Cervical Cancer. She received her Master of Science in Global Health from Duke University’s Global Health Institute, and her BA in International Relations from Auburn University.



Twitter: @testa_luke

Luke Testa

Program Assistant

Luke graduated from Saint Anselm College in May, 2019 where he studied sociology, economics, and public policy. Before joining HGHI, Luke was involved with several nonprofit and public service initiatives where he gained experience in program development, research, and entrepreneurship.

Between 2013 and 2017, Luke co-founded and managed the nonprofit Project PLAY NH which sought to increase youth access to organized sports in Manchester, NH. More recently, Luke served as the Director of Program for HOBY NH and was committed to several positions at the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC). At SYSC, he researched, developed, and managed programs that aimed to lower the youth recidivism rate. At HGHI, Luke supports the Misinformation, Climate Change, Pandemics, and Systems of Oppression portfolios.