The University of Colorado School of Medicine has established an Endowed Chair in Climate Medicine to provide transformational training for physicians to address the health consequences of climate change.
Jay Lemery, MD, professor of emergency medicine, chief of the Section of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, and co-founder of the School of Medicine’s Program on Climate & Health, has been named the inaugural Endowed Chair in Climate Medicine. The CU School of Medicine’s Endowed Chair in Climate Medicine is the first of its kind in the country.
The endowed chair will give Lemery resources to support teaching and research that prepares physicians to be leaders in climate and health, to synthesize earth science with roots in social vulnerabilities, to understand energy policy, climate-resilient policies, and environmental justice, and to seek out and lead on opportunities to decarbonize health systems. Lemery is a highly regarded leader and longtime researcher on climate change and its effect on human health. He has been dedicated to training other health care professionals to do the same.
In partnership with the Climate & Health Foundation and CU faculty, he inaugurated the nation’s first graduate medical education climate and health science policy fellowship for physicians in 2017, in partnership with numerous federal agencies and nonprofits. In 2022, the program is launching a Diploma in Climate Medicine for health care providers, the first of its kind at a medical school, offering a distinction for expertise and leadership in this novel field.
Endowed chairs are made possible by generous donors for faculty dedicated to disciplines they support, and investments from the endowment support the chair’s work. At medical schools across the country, including at the University of Colorado, such endowed chairs usually focus on specific diseases or support leaders of academic departments.
Lemery is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2021, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. He is co-author of “Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health,” published in 2017. From 2011-2016, he was a consultant for the Climate and Health Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.