The School of Public Health At SUNY Downstate Adds a New Program

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Mar 29, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: James Gerontzos | | C: (718) 541-7416

Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health

Brooklyn, NY (March 29, 2021) – The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to announce the creation of a new program: Advanced Certificate in Climate Change and Planetary Health. ‘Planetary Health’ is an emerging transdisciplinary field established by the Lancet Commission in 2015 that addresses the health impacts of human activity on the planet. The School of Public Health is poised to play a leading role in training health professionals to mount strategies for prevention and preparing for climate-related response and adaptation across many sectors of society with a focus on health equity. Students will emerge from the Advanced Certificate program with the ability to provide guidance and 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.

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.

All components of the Advanced Certificate Program in Climate Change and Planetary Health are online in distance learning format.  The program is comprised of five courses housed in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences that each span a semester.  The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences provides graduate education, engages in public health practice and conducts both basic and applied research. The faculty is actively engaged in research and teaching on the assessment, control and prevention of environmental and occupational chemical, biological, physical and work organization hazards and in better understanding their impacts on human health and safety. The department also offers a Master’s of Public Health and Doctorate of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

Applications for the Advanced Certificate will be accepted via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS Express) for enrollment in the Fall 2021 semester. Laura Geer PhD, MHS, Associate Professor and Chair, Environmental and Occupational Health Science, will be the Program Director and Campus Contact.

Quote from Dr. Geer “We are thrilled to announce this new program in Planetary Health to engage students in the dialog on the global pollution, climate change and human health consequences, and to train this next generation of public health professionals to work together to address these daunting challenges.”


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.