Ivana CastellanosToday's guest blogger is Ivana Castellanos, an APHA policy analyst, who recently earned her Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She writes about advancing health equity and environmental justice through climate solutions on campus.

With World Environmental Health Day closing out September, the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity welcomes October with a new opportunity for the next generation of public health leaders. Announcing the Student Champions for Climate Justice awards!

Addressing climate change and its impacts on health and equity is critical to public health. At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where I recently earned my Master of Public Health, all MPH students are enrolled in a required environmental health class in the first term.

The class provides a broad introduction to environmental health, including topics such as environmental agents, toxicology, risk assessment, antibiotic resistance and climate change. The school offers a couple of additional courses with a focus on climate change and health, as well.

However, many students do not take these courses due to scheduling, limited time to explore coursework outside their concentration or because of other interests or priorities. Different public health programs may offer fewer ways for students learn about climate and health, and how this impacts health equity. Undergraduates may have an even smaller chance of learning about how climate change challenges health equity.

That’s why the Center is proud to offer this new opportunity for students to engage with these subjects outside of the curriculum. We need campus communities across the nation to understand and act on issues related to climate, health and equity. Increasing awareness of the health equity impacts of climate change, on college and university campuses, is critical to galvanizing action.

The Center will select up to five different college or university undergraduate and graduate students or student groups as Student Champions for Climate Justice. The winners will create a “Campus Experience” during APHA's National Public Health Week (April 6-12, 2020). Experiences will highlight the connection between climate change, health and equity for fellow students, faculty and staff and can take many forms.

We want students to be creative in how they decide to engage their campuses on the topics of climate change, health and equity. Experiences should spark conversation. They should raise awareness that students care about these issues and will have to work on them in their careers as the next generation of public health leaders. The deadline for applications is November 17.

Applications are now open for Student Champions for Climate Justice awards. Deadline November 17. To learn more about how you can apply, visit our website