Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health

Planetary HealthPlanetary Health focuses on the study of activities of global populations and resulting environmental changes at the planetary/ecosystem level that impact human health, with a particular focus on climate change. It is an emerging transdisciplinary field established by the Lancet Commission in 2015 to address the health impacts of human activity, and implications of human interactions with the planetary ecosystems on which human life depends. Our Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health will provide students with training to characterize and assess impacts related to climate change and the anthropogenic effects on health and wellbeing through constructive strategizing for policy and positive change.

Students who complete the courses in this program will be equipped to:

  1. Identify adverse health impacts from climate change and planetary human activities. This includes gaining an understanding of complex environmental systems, including climate change, and learning methods for measuring and characterizing impacts on human health.
  2. Learn to collaborate with peers, policymakers, and all relevant stakeholders to communicate climate change and planetary health risks and develop strategies for prevention to advance health equity.
  3. Learn to recognize and reduce climate-health effects in clinical and public health settings through various policies at the individual, local, and global scales to address reductions in carbon pollution sources and to maximize health co-benefits.
  4. Identify and develop culturally appropriate climate mitigation strategies to foster community resiliency.

Component Courses

Planetary HealthAll components of the Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health are online in distance learning format. These include five courses that each span a semester. The five courses include:

- EOHS 5200: Issues in Environmental Health

- EOHS 5315: Building Climate Resiliency: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies

- EOHS 5316: Climate Change and Health

- EOHS 5317: Disaster Preparedness and Vulnerable Populations

- EOHS 5318: Planetary Health

Students who complete the Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health will emerge with the ability to provide guidance and potential for leadership within academia, government institutions, the non-governmental sector (community-based organizations), or in private industry to address the health implications of the activities and behavior of global populations.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions requirements do not differ from the institution’s minimum admissions requirements. Applicants for admission to the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Certificate program must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited program in the United States or its equivalent.  

Applicants must meet the requirements outlined below:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a Council for Higher Education (CHEA) regionally accredited college or university.
  • An undergraduate record with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale) is preferred.
  • Personal Statement. The essay is a personal statement in which the applicant explains his or her reasons for pursuing the advanced certificate in public health and hopes for what he or she will achieve with that degree. The essay should be on separate, numbered sheets of paper for and include the applicant’s name at the top of each sheet. The essay should be no more than 500 words.
  • One (1) letter of recommendation must be submitted addressing the applicant's academic ability and professional experience or interest as it applies to public health issues. A Letter from a professor or work-related supervisor is preferred.
  • The TOEFL is required for ALL applicants for whom English is a Second Language and who have not completed at least one year of full-time study in a regionally accredited college or university in the United States (at least 24 semester credits, including two courses in English composition). A minimum score for the paper exam of 536 (undergraduate programs) and 564 (graduate programs); a minimum score for the computer exam of 208 (undergraduate programs) and 223 (graduate programs; and a minimum score for the Internet-based exam of 65-78 (undergraduate programs) and 79-95 (graduate programs) is required on the TOEFL.