Climate Change and the Growing Risk of Nuclear War: A Health Care Perspective October 15, 2016


The symposium will be livestreamed at

Sponsored by:

BIDMC Fellowship in Disaster Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston University School of Public Health
Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility
Harvard Medical School
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Massachusetts Medical Society
Massachusetts Public Health Association
Tufts University School of Medicine
University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Nursing and Health Science

Convened by Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility
Hosted by Tufts University School of Medicine

Event Poster

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Learning Objectives

  • Identify ways in which climate change can lead to conflict and violence.
  • Describe the climate disruption that would follow nuclear war.
  • List strategies individuals can take to help prevent the health and societal effects of climate change.
  • Describe what individuals can do to reduce the nuclear threat.
  • Identify the health consequences of climate change and nuclear war.
  • Apply scientific expertise to informing policy-makers about the implications of climate change and nuclear war.


Tufts University School of Medicine
Sackler Auditorium
First Floor
Arthur M. Sackler Center for Medical Education
145 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA



9:00 Welcome

9:15 Panel I—Climate Change and the impact on public health:

A)    Expected climate change globally and in S Asia and Middle East—Susan Solomon, PhD, Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B)    Impact on food and water; land loss to rising sea levels—Barry Levy, MD, Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Tufts University School of Medicine
C)    Forced migration—case study Syria, other likely hot spots including migration to US—Jennifer Leaning, MD, Director, Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights

10:45 Coffee Break

11:00 Panel II—The increased potential for conflict including nuclear conflict
Moderator—Steven Kinzer, Author and foreign correspondent; Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs, Watson Institute, Brown University

A)      South Asia—Zia Mian, PhD, Director, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
B)       Limited and large scale nuclear war—Ira Helfand, MD, Chair, Security Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility

12:10 Lunch

12:40 Panel III—Current International  Efforts to Prevent Climate Change and Nuclear War
Moderator—Jonathan King, PhD, Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A)     Preventing climate change—Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College,
B)    Preventing nuclear war—John Loretz, Program Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
C)    The medical responsibility to act—Catherine Thomasson, MD, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility

2:20  Workshops—Dialogue, Collaboration, Action

A)    Health Professionals and Climate Change
B)    Health Professionals and Nuclear War
C)   The Role of Students and Young Professionals
D)    Reflections on the Day
E)    Working with Media and Social Media

3:30  Closing Plenary—Reports from Workshops and Next Steps

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