Introducing the Diploma in Climate Medicine

Building on the success of its Physician Fellowship in Climate & Health, the University of Colorado School of Medicine is pleased to announce a new professional development program for health care providers of all specialties.

The Diploma in Climate Medicine from the CU School of Medicine offers the
highest level of professional distinction for expertise and leadership
on this growing health crisis.


Program Overview

Government, nonprofit funding agencies, and hospital systems are scaling up climate and health opportunities. Health care providers must learn to lead on:

  • Climate & Health Science Policy
  • Environmental Justice
  • Health Care System Decarbonization and Resiliency
  • Workforce Training
  • Climate & Health Research and Dissemination

Community leaders, deans, department chairs, elected officials, hospital CEOs, nonprofit executive directors, and government agencies will be tasked with climate plans. They will need expertise and counsel on the health impacts of their operations and policies to benefit their constituencies and patients.

Our ecosystems are now under such stress that widescale human suffering is all but a certainty. Record heat exposures, flooding episodes, wildfires, hurricanes, and forced displacement are increasingly exacerbating health disparities, predominantly in our most vulnerable populations. 

Doctors raising hand
Diplomates in Climate Medicine will be credible, knowledgeable, and effective leaders on smart, patient-centric policies on this critical health crisis.

Few clinicians can effectively articulate the dizzy interplay between public health, energy policy, geopolitics, earth science, government, and medicine. Policy has stalled due to the difficulty in translating complex earth science into convincing connections between extreme heat and illness in urban communities, pandemics and loss of biodiversity, or severe weather and food insecurity.

Climate Medicine Diplomates can fill that gap, crafting patient-centric narratives when working with CEOs, community leaders, and policymakers by:

  • Advocating for climate-resilient policies.
  • Credibly addressing deeply rooted environmental justice issues.
  • Effectively leading health systems to de-carbonize.

ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE A PRINTED COPY OF OUR TEXTBOOK, Global Climate Change and Human Health (2e) and a logo’ed CLIMATE MEDICINE fleece!






    What is the Diploma in Climate Medicine? 

      The Diploma in Climate Medicine is for the clinician concerned with the impacts of climate change on the health of our families, patients, and society. In this program, you will receive the hands-on training and professional credentials necessary to be a credible, knowledgeable, and influential voice in advancing smart, patient-centric policy in climate and health. Leadership opportunities on behalf of communities, health care systems, academic institutions, NGOs, governments, and policymakers are coming. This program will give you the background and skills to be an effective change agent.

      The Diploma in Climate Medicine will offer the superlative distinction for expertise and leadership in this novel field.

      The program has five separate one-week certificate program. Completion of all five certificates leads to the Diploma in Climate Medicine.

      A carefully integrated curriculum permits participants to have a 360-degree, comprehensive perspective on the health impacts of climate change.

      climate change




      • Foundations and Updates in Climate Medicine
      • Developing Sustainable Hospital Systems
      • Disaster Response and Recovery
      • Community Resilience: Energy Innovation & Healthy Infrastructure
      • Global Challenges

      All courses include cross-cutting themes on climate justice, leadership, and climate & health communication.


      Learning Styles:

      We conduct each course in a hybrid fashion with the following components:

      small group
      • Remote Asynchronous
        Each certificate will open with a series of virtual lectures in the weeks preceding the core instruction week. We will present clinical correlates and case-based assignments for students to complete before the synchronous week.

      • Remote Synchronous [3 Days]
        The core instruction week will open with a live virtual presentation from a keynote speaker whose work embodies the week's focus. We will then convene on a series of virtual facilitated “Climate Rounds” using the pedagogical framework discussed below.

      • On-Location [3.5 Days]
        Following a travel day, the group will connect in person on a site suited to the week's focus. In-person education will be skills-based with methods focusing on simulation, skill development, feedback, and refinement. Sites will include the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado and various “hands-on” locations in the field. 


      Diploma vs. Certificate?

      Each of the five courses (60 hours) will offer a professional certificate from the CU School of Medicine and may serve as a stand-alone course in that topic. Participants completing all five certificates (300 hours) will receive a Diploma in Climate Medicine from the CU School of Medicine. Courses do not need to be taken sequentially, but it is recommended that you start with Foundations and Updates in Climate Medicine.  


      CME Credits:

      This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Wilderness Medical Society and University of Colorado. The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


      The Wilderness Medical Society designates this educational activity for [maximum credit hours pending] AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity

      Please note, for those that wish to claim CME credits and certificate, there will be an additional fee of $150 per person per diploma course.


      Teaching Methods & Course Features:

      • Hands-On: We Aim to Get Our Hands Dirty - rocky mountain national parkFor course one, we'll ask you to analyze health implications after running your own climate models with researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. We'll visit the firsthand devastation of wildfires with rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park.

      • "Climate Rounds" With Case-Based, Small Groups - We will present you with complex, multi-faceted problems, reinforcing core competencies. You'll have a team of diverse peers with whom to connect and problem-solve.

        We believe content must be relevant and relatable to each student’s community and clinical practice. We, therefore, integrate a process of reflection and inquiry early in our teaching method. After participants review lectures and assigned readings, instructors will ask students to respond to a content question representing a real-life clinical scenario or reflect upon a climate challenge or response opportunity in their community.

        Later, students will meet in “Climate Rounds” — small, facilitated discussion groups — to test their analysis with their peers. The class discusses the case with the facilitator as a catalyst and guide. The facilitator will point out considerations the group has overlooked, present other case studies, elaborate on current areas of controversy, and elicit from participants the lessons of experience.
      • Cross-Sector - We have three cross-sector themes running through the course:

        • Climate Equity & Environmental Justice - Hearing from boots on the ground nonprofits investing in innovative solutions to make our communities healthier.

        • Communication - We'll do a deep dive on how to talk climate and health and give you hacks on presenting complex scientific information, speaking to skeptical constituents, and writing a successful op-ed.

        • Leadership - How we, as health care providers, can empower wise policy through a basic understanding of machinations of policy creation and implementation.
      • Key Elements

        • Courses are combination of asynchronous remote and in-person.
        • Small cohort of students (<20) and nationally renowned faculty to ensure networking with peers and faculty.
        • Interactive sessions, simulations, 1:1 leadership and communication coaching, individual feedback assessments.
        • In-field experiential learning.
        • Each course may be taken separately for a certificate from the CU School of Medicine; completion of all five certificates will earn a Diploma in Climate Medicine.
        • We are committed to a diverse learning environment. Women and underrepresented groups in medicine are particularly encouraged to apply.


      Program Outcomes:

      Upon completion of the program, participants will have gained:

      • Increased understanding of the climate drivers and health impacts (adaptation, mitigation, co-benefits).
      • A better understanding of public health services and emergency planning skills as they relate to climate change.
      • Broader appreciation of the challenges and changes occurring in clinical practice regarding climate change and health (diagnosis and management).
      • New methods for policy crafting and implementation.
      • Greater effectiveness in communication on issues of climate and health.
      • New perspectives on the interface of climate change and environmental justice.
      • Knowledge of relevant concepts and analyses of metrics for advancing health care system decarbonization.
      • Greater effectiveness in leadership on climate and health policies.

      Diploma in Climate Medicine Courses

      Foundations and Updates in Climate Medicine Fall 2022 September 25 - October 2, 2022
      Developing Sustainable Hospital SystemsSpring 2023 Planned
      Disaster Response and RecoveryFall 2023 Planned
      Community Resilience: Energy Innovation & Healthy InfrastructureSpring 2024 Planned
      Global ChallengesFall 2024 Planned

      Climate MedicineFew clinicians can effectively articulate the dizzy interplay between public health, energy policy, geopolitics, earth science, government and medicine. It is no underestimation that recent policy has stalled from the difficulty in translating complex earth science into convincing linkages between extreme heat and illness in urban communities; loss of biodiversity and pandemics; or extreme weather and food insecurity.

      Climate doctors can fill that gap, crafting patient-centric narratives when sparring over policies with CEOs, community leaders, and policymakers in advocating for climate-resilient policies; credibly addressing deeply rooted environmental justice issues; and effectively leading health systems to de-carbonize. This is where to begin a solid foundation to build upon for your Diploma in Climate Medicine.

      Course Agenda



      Sustainable Hospital SystemsThe American health sector is responsible for an estimated 8.5% of national carbon emissions. Its full-cost operational footprint is enormous when considering facility operations, sources of energy use, and goods and services supply chains. We need health care champions to implement cost-saving strategic investments through energy and waste efficiencies; "greener" operative practices; healthier food services; and smarter purchasing. All represent tangible opportunities for you to lead as a change agent, both as a heavyweight within the American economy and as a care provider charged with the health and well-being of our communities.  

      Features of this course include:

      • A deep dive into health care system best practices, with experts from Healthcare with Harm and Practice Greenhealth, clarifying measurement and analysis of “big green” data and implementation of carbon-reducing policies. We’ll meet with Mazzetti’s Climate Action Consultants on how to engineer sustainable systems and representatives from the UK’s National Health Service on how to scale up a world-class net-zero-emission health service.
      • We’ll tour “best-in-class” health care facilities and speak with staff on how their efforts have impacted patient care. And we will hear from colleagues at Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on how the U.S. government seeks to decarbonize health care as a health care service provider, purchaser, regulator, and sponsor of research, education, and training.



      Disaster Response and RecoveryLancet has called climate change the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Consider that wildfires are more intense and longer lasting than ever before. We have suffered from months of persistent air degradation across huge swaths of our country, resulting in untold illness. We have experienced flooding, structural damage and displacement from hurricanes, each year increasingly energized from warmer average temperatures. The data tell us that chaotic changes to our ecosystems are undermining healthy living, exacerbating illness, and stressing social determinants of health. The list of climate-related health effects is no different than a busy emergency department triage list: fainting (from extreme heat), shortness of breath (from degraded air quality and increased aeroallergens), fever (from vector-borne diseases), vomiting and diarrhea (from diminished water quality), and trauma (from extreme weather events). Understanding the root causes and responses to disasters will be a crucial part of your DiCM experience.

      Features of this course include:

      • A hands-on, visceral experience of disaster planning and response at a major national training center. We’ll hear from experts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) on the nation’s plans for disaster mitigation for communities as well as health care responders. Case studies will include responses to climate disasters from wildfires in California and Colorado, extreme weather in the Gulf coasts and Caribbean, and threats to major safety net hospitals in New Orleans and New York City.
      • We’ll speak to hospital disaster managers and DMAT team managers to share their career paths and link their work in climate-specific threats. Finally, we’ll take a global perspective, connecting with disaster response NGOs to share opportunities for clinicians to assist disaster response efforts worldwide, in a responsible and empowering manner.


      Community Resilience Climate change is the result of the carbon economy, and if we seek to protect the health and wellness of our communities, the Diplomate in Climate Medicine will need to be facile in understanding basic concepts in energy choices and impacts down to the local, neighborhood, and individual level. There are few issues within climate change that are as entrenched with misinformation and obfuscation than energy use. As a DiCM, you can be a clarion voice for your community, schooled in basic concepts to advocate for and effect healthy energy policies.

      Features of this course include:

      • Basics on carbon economics, overviews of renewable energy sources (wind, solar), and introduction to advanced battery technology. We’ll hear from community leaders working with the City of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency on how they are leveraging the voter-approved Climate Protection Fund to advance environmental justice in vulnerable urban neighborhoods.
      • We’ll visit a fracking site up-close and personal, and visit the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden to see the work of research leaders in renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy systems integration, and sustainable transportation. This course will feature faculty partners from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work — a global leader in issues of climate vulnerability — as well as energy experts from the Payne Institute at Colorado School of Mines.



      FireThe first four courses will give you a firm foundation on the health impacts of climate change: Heat stress (from extreme heat), dyspnea from degraded air quality and aeroallergen spikes, fevers from vector-borne diseases, vomiting and diarrhea from diminished water quality, and trauma from extreme weather events and increased civil discord. This final course will turn its lens toward international challenges and issues of global governance.


      We’ll examine how climate change health impacts are exacerbated by poor governance in regions with little to no resiliency, stoking civil discord due to food and water insecurity from droughts that cause crop failures and food price spikes and kindle unrest.


      We’ll examine how climate change has threatened human security through population displacement, violent conflict, and poverty entrenchment. We will dig deeper into how extreme heat events in Central America and Southeast Asia have been associated with chronic kidney failure in middle-aged agricultural workers. We will discuss climate models that predict that by 2050, simply being outside in the Middle East will be life-threatening. We will study forced displacement and start with the haunting resettlement map of diaspora from Hurricane Katrina as well as the low-lying Pacific island nations, which will be underwater by the year 2100.


      Adding to this final synthesis, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, we’ll dissect the many institutions, treaties, compacts and contracts of global governance, including the IPCC, COP conferences, historic protocols and treaties. We’ll touch upon concepts of geoengineering, and how “hail Mary” grand solutions could affect global health.


      Final course in the diploma will feature a capstone project where you, as a future diplomate, will integrate these many lessons into a cumulative synthesis to share with faculty and peers.

      Meet Our Experts

      Climate Medicine is a new concept in clinical care, and at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, we are defining it. The Climate & Health Program utilizes education, research, service, and partnerships to help build a sustainable community committed to climate health.

      Our goal is to advance the capacity of all health care professionals to effect change in this critical health crisis. We can't think of a better endeavor for our creative energies, educational passion, and professional work. Our team believes the impact of training leaders in climate and health will amplify our collective voice and influence policy change for years to come. We hope that Diploma in Climate Medicine graduates will become effective guardians against the burgeoning threat. We need formidable innovators and leaders on this critical issue for all of humanity.

      Our faculty are experts on climate change and human health unsurpassed among academic centers. We not only bring your our best talents, but pull from luminaries in the field to augment our faculty.


      Jay Lemery, MD
      Co-Director, Climate & Health Program


      Rosemary Rochford, PhD
      Co-Director, Climate & Health Program

      Terry O'Connor

      Terry O'Connor, MD
      Director, Diploma in Climate Medicine


      Bhargavi Chekuri, MD
      Director, Continuing Medical Education

      Margaret Power

      Margaret Power
      Program Administration



      Jaime Butler DawsonJaime Butler-Dawson, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist with the Center for Health, Work & Environment, and an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health. Her work in global health research and practice focuses on improving the health of worker populations, especially in relation to worker health and safety, agriculture, climate, and environmental exposures.

      James CrooksJames Crooks, PhD, is an associate professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at National Jewish Health and a clinical associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. His research focuses on the impact of air pollution and extreme weather on health in the United States. He holds a PhD in physics and MS in statistics from the University of North Carolina.

      Caleb Dresser

      Caleb Dresser, MD, is an emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He is assistant director of the Fellowship in Climate and Human Health at Harvard and is affiliated with the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His research focuses on understanding the health implications of climate-related disasters and human mobility, and he is actively involved in efforts to educate health care workers, policymakers, and the public about the value of action to protect human health in the context of the ongoing climate crisis.

      Kathy JamesKatherine James, MPH, is an associate professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department and the Center for Health Work and Environment at the Colorado School for Public Health. She is an environmental engineer and epidemiologist by training and has led community-based environmental health research in rural Colorado for the past 15 years. Her current work focuses on the impacts of climate on population health, especially in vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and workers. James has several large community-based projects in rural Colorado focusing on the impacts of sustained drought, including water quality and human health, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, mental health in agriculture workers, and air quality and medical care utilization due to asthma.

      Kris KarnauskasKris Karnauskas, PhD, is a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and an associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, with secondary faculty appointments in the CU School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health. Karnauskas earned his PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Maryland, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in ocean and climate physics at Columbia University. Karnauskas currently serves as section editor for PLOS Climate and recently served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program. Karnauskas' lab at CU Boulder explores the dynamics of the climate system toward useful predictions of impacts ranging from marine ecosystems to human health.

      Ed MaibachEdward Maibach, PhD, is a distinguished university professor and director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, home to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.

      Bernadette PlackyBernadette Woods Placky is an Emmy Award-winning meteorologist and director of Climate Central's Climate Matters, a program that offers data analyses, graphics, and other reporting resources to nearly 2,000 TV meteorologists and journalists to help them tell their local climate stories. Woods Placky develops partnerships with media organizations, nonprofits, and academic institutions in her leadership role with Climate Central, and she serves as an expert on the links between climate change and weather.

      Colleen ReidColleen Reid, PhD, is an assistant professor in the geography department at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on the health impacts of exposures influenced by global climatic changes and society’s responses to those changes. She has led research projects on the health impacts of exposure to smoke from wildfires and the creation and evaluation of a national neighborhood-level map of vulnerability to extreme heat events. Reid received her MPH and PhD in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and did her post-doctoral training at Harvard University as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar. She also has an ScB in environmental science from Brown University.

      Caitlin RubleeCaitlin Rublee, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and the Institute for Health & Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She completed a climate and health science policy fellowship following residency and continues to advance population health through research, education, and policy. Her main interests are in disaster preparedness and improving equitable access to health services during periods of extreme heat.

      Emily SbiroliEmily Sbiroli, MD, is a practicing emergency medicine physician in San Diego, California, and a National Physician Fellow in Climate and Health at the University of Colorado. Sbiroli completed her residency at the University of California San Diego, including one year as chief resident. Her current focus includes health care sector decarbonization and understanding the impacts of climate change on human health. In 2019 she was named an inaugural Emerging Physician Leader by Health Care Without Harm’s Physician Network.


      How to Apply

      The Diploma in Climate Medicine is open to health care practitioners who hold an advanced degree and licensure in any area of clinical practice.

      The diploma is awarded upon successful completion of all five certificates. You do not need to enroll in the diploma program to take an individual certificate course.

      The first certificate, “Foundations and Updates in Climate Medicine,” will be offered in Fall 2022 (September 25 - October 2, 2022).

      The four additional certificate courses will roll out over the subsequent 18 months. We anticipate each certificate course to be offered annually. There is no time period within which the five certificate courses must be completed to be awarded a diploma.

      We are now accepting applications on a rolling basis. There will be a maximum of 20 students per class.

      Registration deadline for certificate course one, Foundations and Updates in Climate Medicine, is August 1, 2022.



      • The fee for each certificate is $3,500 (USD) for physician participants. 
      • The fee for each certificate is $2,900 (USD) for other health professionals.
      • Tuition does not include airfare or printed educational materials.

      We will award three $900 scholarships to exceptional applicants who can attest to need (see application details below).  

      Program tuition will includes online educational material, lodging, and
      group meals when on locations.

      A $500 refundable deposit is required with your application. The final payment is due 45 days prior to the start of the certificate course.

      Participants applying for subsequent programs in pursuit of a diploma will be eligible for a 10% discount from the single certificate course tuition fee.


      To prepare your application for submission, please have the following documents available:

      • Curriculum Vitae or Resume - You will be prompted to upload either your CV or resume (.doc, .pdf).
      • Personal Statement - A 250- to 500-word personal statement explaining why you are interested in the Diploma in Climate Medicine. Include a brief description of your area of professional interest as well as the institution and community where you work.
      • Scholarship (Optional) - If you would like to be considered for this scholarship opportunity, please add an additional 250- to 500-word statement attesting to your need. We also require a letter of recommendation from a colleague in your clinical work setting. This correspondence should be emailed directly to

      • $500 Refundable Deposit - This is required with your application. The final payment is due 45 days prior to the start of the certificate course.

      Participants applying for subsequent programs will not be required to re-submit application documents. In the event of limited spots for a single certificate course offering, preference will be given to returning participants seeking a diploma.

      Students can expect to hear a decision on their application within four weeks. For questions regarding your application, please email


      Your deposit will be refundable if you are not accepted and up to 3 months before the certificate course start.

      Should the program be canceled due to insufficient enrollment, a full refund will be given. Notification of cancellation will be provided at least 45 days prior to the program’s start date.

      We regret that we are unable to provide refunds should an applicant register then be unable to attend the program.


      For all inquiries regarding the Diploma in Climate Medicine, please email

      Apply Today:

      We are accepting applications! Space is limited, so we encourage you to apply now. Fill in your information below to get detailed application information.