Shaping a Brighter Future

Jonathan Patz, MD, M.P.H.

There’s a saying that it’s not how we deal with prosperity, but how we handle adversity, that defines who we are as a people. And if that’s true, Jonathan Patz, MD, M.P.H. is setting an excellent example. For more than 20 years, Dr. Patz has been leading the charge on climate change issues. He served as a lead author for United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—an organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Currently, he is director of the Global Health Institute and the John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment with appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences.

As a medical doctor and a professor in Health and Environment, Dr. Patz is interested in understanding the effects of climate change on public health. But saying that he’s interested in the field is a bit of an understatement. It’s more accurate to say that he is largely responsible for the field’s existence. He has presented the effects of climate change on health to both houses of Congress, served on committees for the National Academy of Sciences, and is the founding president of the International Association for Ecology and Health.

He has published extensively throughout his career, and is always contributing to the field in new ways. Patz has written over 90 peer-reviewed scientific papers, a textbook addressing the health effects of global environmental change and co-edited a five-volume Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. His dedication to understanding global health is unrelenting, and his work continues to shape and influence leaders and policymakers across the world.

The future will be challenging for the human race. How we deal with the problems we have helped to create will be the ultimate test of our survival. But with Dr. Patz diligently asking and answering the important questions, we have a much better chance at a brighter tomorrow.