Grand Rounds: What’s the Connection between Integrative Medicine and Climate Change? A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration

Event Date: July 2nd, 2019

Osher Center

Grand Rounds: What’s the Connection between Integrative Medicine and Climate Change? A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration

“If the U.S. health care system were a separate country, its $3.3 trillion GDP would give it the fifth-largest economy in the world. It is also the world’s seventh-largest producer of carbon dioxide, making it a major contributor to air pollution. The environment shapes our health system as well: recent catastrophes have shown how climate change can adversely affect the health care system’s ability to meet patients’ needs. These links suggest that health care organizations have both an opportunity and an obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and take action to prevent harm to patients that occurs during climate-related catastrophes.” To the Point, The Commonwealth Fund

Integrative Medicine and Climate Change: Mini-Forum

On July 2nd, we hosted a special installment of our Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds series. In this presentation we explored the interface of integrative medicine and climate change. Watch the video recording to hear three consecutive short presentations, followed by audience Q&A.

Read the commentary on the Grand Rounds by John Weeks, writer, speaker and change agent for the integrative medicine community and editor-in-chief of JACM (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine).


Dr. Peter Wayne, Interim Director for the Osher Center was joined by Dr. Renee Salas, lead author on the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief, and Bill Ravanesi, Senior Director of the Green Building & Energy Program at Health Care Without Harm. Download Flier. The event was organized and moderated by Aterah Nusrat, Program Manager for the Osher Center.

Short Presentations

Key public health impacts of climate change and opportunities for Greater Boston.
Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS, Harvard Global Health Institute

The carbon footprint of hospitals, and the potential leadership role the healthcare industry can play in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Bill Ravanesi
, Senior Director, Green Building & Energy Program, Health Care Without Harm

The role of integrative medicine in providing society with tools to enhance prevention and health resilience, and behavior change relevant to low-carbon health care and well-being.
Peter M. Wayne, PhD, Interim Director, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, HMS/BWH

Speaker Biographies

Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS is Affiliated Faculty and a Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute. She is also in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Salas served as the lead author on the 2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief and will again in 2019. She engages in grant-funded 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 is the founder and past Chair of the Climate Change and Health Interest Group at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine. 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.

Bill Ravanesi, MA, MPH, has been with Health Care Without Harm since 1997 working on public health, environmental, climate, energy & resilience initiatives. He is Senior Director of HCWH’s Green Building & Energy Program, and  works on public policy  at the state level on climate and energy. Bill also co-coordinates the Boston Green Ribbon Commission’s Healthcare Working Group, and is Co-Director of the Massachusetts Health Care Climate Alliance. He has received numerous awards, including the CleanMed Environmental Health Hero Award in recognition of his role in deepening our understanding of the critical links between health and the environment, and the USEPA’s Environmental Merit Award for outstanding efforts in preserving New England’s environment. Bill has a master’s degree in environmental health from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Health Care Without Harm is a Massachusetts-founded global organization that campaigns for environmentally responsible health care. HCWH’s overarching goal is to protect the public’s health from climate change: Reducing healthcare’s carbon footprint, fostering climate resilient health systems, mobilizing the health sector to address climate change as a public health issue, and advocating for solutions that accelerate a transition to clean, renewable energy.

Peter M. Wayne, PhD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is the Director of Research for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and also the Interim Center Director. The primary focus of Dr. Wayne’s research is evaluating how mind-body and related complementary and alternative medicine practices clinically impact chronic health conditions, and understanding the physiological and psychological mechanisms underlying observed therapeutic effects. He has served as a principal or co-investigator on more than 20 NIH-funded studies. Dr. Wayne’s PhD is in the field of evolutionary biology, and prior to studying medicine, his research focused on understanding the physiology of temperate forest ecosystems and their biological role in climate change.


Event Details

Date/Time: Tuesday, July, 2 | 8:00am – 9:00am (followed by coffee hour, 9:00am – 10:00am)
Venue: Bornstein Family Amphitheater, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 45 Francis St. Boston, MA
Cost: Free. CME credit available (for in-person and virtual attendance).
Live Stream Access: Registration for lives tream access is now closed (Desktop/Laptop recommended. Mobile devices not currently supported)
Live Stream Q&A: visit and enter event code GRJuly19.

photo credit: NASA