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Climate change is a growing public health concern with implications for safety and well-being; nutrition and food security; food-, water-, and vector-borne diseases; and mental health. Climate change and the social determinants of health are closely aligned, contributing to disparate environmental exposures and health inequalities, as a disproportionate number of low-income individuals, some communities of color, and those with higher vulnerability to disease and chronic health conditions are at risk. Health professionals play a critical role in climate change prevention and preparedness.

Join national experts and faculty from the MGH IHP School of Nursing Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice and Health to address ways to identify the risks of health climate change, advocate for climate/environmental justice, and mitigate the impact of climate change on health and well-being. This symposium will provide health care professionals with an opportunity to engage in robust discussion about ideas for corrective action to improve the lives of people in the face of climate change.


  • Examine the intersection of the climate crisis, health, and health care delivery and the implications for research, education, and advocacy.
  • Discuss the policy implications for public health related existing and emerging health consequences.
  • Examine the roles of the public and health professionals for engaging in climate and climate justice issues.

Who Should Attend

All those who are interested in learning more about the impact that climate change has on health.
Health professionals who aim to identify and reduce the risks and consequences of climate change.
Those interested in engaging in policy and advocacy efforts related to climate change and health.

Keynote Speaker

Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS

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Dr. Renee N. Salas is 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 and Affiliated Faculty and previous Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI). She is also a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Salas focuses her career on the intersection of the climate crisis, health, and health care delivery – both through the generation of new knowledge and translating and applying existing knowledge to different sectors – through research, education, and outreach.

She engages in research to better understand how climate change is impacting the health care system and to develop evidence-based adaptation with various partners. She has also spearheaded initiatives like her first author Interactive Perspective for the New England Journal of Medicine that outlines the consequences of climate change on clinical practice, which serves as a main feature for the Climate Crisis and Health topic page for the journal. Dr. Salas also served as the lead author on the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief, and is again in 2019, and works with a core team to manage the U.S. Brief Working Group that supports the creation of the annual Brief.

Dr. Salas communicates the important and novel connections between the climate crisis, health, and health care through publications in high impact journals, as an invited speaker nationally and internationally, in writing for the lay public, and through media engagements. Her work has been featured in media outlets like the Associated Press, CNN, USA Today, and others.

She was the founder and past Chair of the Climate Change and Health Interest Group at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. In addition, she is the recipient of the Clinician-Teacher Development Award from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Shore Fellowship from Harvard Medical School.

Her Doctor of Medicine is from the innovative five-year medical school program that trains 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.

Speakers and Faculty

Pete Bouchard

Meteorologist, NBC 10 Boston

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Pete studied meteorology at Lyndon State College in Vermont one of the first colleges in the country to offer a concentration in broadcast meteorology. His television career had humble roots in the basement of a motel in White River Junction, Vermont, where WNNE-TV was housed at the time. His next stops were WMTW in Portland, Maine, WVII in Bangor, Maine, WGME in Portland, Maine, and then on to Fox 25 in Boston.

The search for a television home didn’t end there though. He returned to Portland to work at Fox 51 with his wife as anchor before moving to WHDH in Boston in 2002. All along the way, he gained experience across all of New England’s microclimates, visited countless schools (where some of the students went onto become interns of his), civic organizations and donated time to dozens of charities.

Pete has received numerous accolades in his long career from the Associated Press, Maine Association of Broadcasters, two Emmy nominations and three Best of Boston awards. In his spare time, he embarrasses himself on the guitar and likes making sawdust in his workshop.


Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH

Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases; Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

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Dr. LaRocqe is a physician-scientist with an interest in the impact of climate change on human health. She is on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is on the board of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, and she was elected to the Natural Resources Commission in Wellesley, Massachusetts in 2017. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.


Keith L. Seitter

Executive Director, American Meteorological Society

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Dr. Keith L. Seitter has been the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society since 2004. He joined the AMS in the early 1990s, leading a number of AMS programs and serving as Deputy Executive Director for several years prior to being named the Executive Director.

Before joining the AMS, Seitter was on the faculty at the University of Lowell, now University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He earned his undergraduate degree in meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago. Seitter had a postdoctoral appointment at the Air Force Geophysical Laboratory at Hanscom Air Force Base before moving to the University of Lowell.

Seitter is a Fellow of the AMS and Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. He is also a member of many other societies and organizations and serves on several advisory boards. He has given numerous invited lectures and published papers in AMS and other scientific and publishing journals.

The AMS, founded in 1919, is the nation's leading professional society for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences. With more than 14,000 members, the Society promotes the advancement of the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society through scientific journals, conferences, and public education programs across the country.


Patrice Nicholas DNSc, DHL (Hon), MPH, RN, ANP-C, FAAN

Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Nursing and Director, Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health, MGH Institute of Health Professions; Faculty Nurse Scientist, Massachusetts General Hospital

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Dr. Nicholas joined the Institute faculty in 1989 after many years of clinical practice at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She is Professor and teaches in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program as well as in the Direct-Entry Master of Science and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. She is also a member of the steering committee for the Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice and Health at the Institute.

Dr. Nicholas is engaged in research on quality of life in chronic illness, particularly HIV/AIDS and international/cross-cultural work. She completed both a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard School of Public Health in 1999, and a Master of Public Health degree in International Health (HIV/AIDS Focus).

Dr. Nicholas was the recipient of a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for 2003-2004 to study population issues and health status in Germany. She serves on the editorial review panels of several journals including AIDS Care, American Journal of Public Health, Nursing Research, American Journal of Nursing, Nursing and Health Care: Perspectives on Community, and The Journal of Nursing Scholarship.

Dr. Nicholas is the recipient of several grants and awards for her research. She is a Visiting Professor at Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, and St. Luke's Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Nicholas was recently awarded a J. William Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in South Africa for 2006-2007 to continue her research and teaching on symptom management and adherence to therapy in HIV disease in Durban, South Africa. In 2010 she received the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Research Award. She is also the recipient of a Nursing Spectrum Community Service Award and a Boston Business Journal Champion in Health Care Award.


Suellen Breakey, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, MGH Institute of Health Professions


Suellen Breakey, PhD, RN, is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Prelicensure/Generalist programs for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEN) program in the School of Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions. She teaches in the accelerated BSN programs. Her clinical background includes cardiac surgery, critical care, hospice care, and global health nursing.

Dr. Breakey is a member of the steering committee for the Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice and Health at the Institute. Her global nursing efforts are focused on prevention and treatment of rheumatic heart disease in resource-limited settings. She is a leader with Team Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides RHD screening, cardiac surgical care and follow up, and patient/provider education in Rwanda.

Her scholarship interests include bioethics, global health ethics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. In 2015 Dr. Breakey's book Global Nursing in the 21st Century was published.



Climate Change & Health 2020

Registration Information




Includes course materials, light breakfast, lunch & beverages.

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*Applies to individuals currently enrolled in a full-time degree granting program at the time of the symposium who will not be claiming CEUs.

Does not apply to part-time students.

Student status verification may be requested.

Use code climateihpstu upon checkout.

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Key Information


MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Criteria for successful completion include: attendance at the entire event and completion of evaluation form.



MGH Institute of Health Professions
Charlestown Navy Yard, 1 Constitution Wharf
Boston, MA 02129
4 miles from Boston's Logan International Airport


There will be room blocks available at the nearby Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf at a special rate of $269 per night + tax. Must book by Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Use the link below or call 800-331-3131 to book this special rate. If calling, be sure to mention MGH IHP-Climate Change Symposium to receive the special rate.

Click here to book a room at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf.

Call for Abstracts

We invite you to submit an abstract for a poster presentation at this symposium.
Abstract submission deadline: Friday, March 13, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET
Abstract decision notification: Friday, March 20, 2020
Submit A Poster Abstract

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this symposium, please complete the form below. We will be in touch as soon as we can.