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Human and
Planetary Health

A working group co-founded and led by Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health and Woods Institute for the Environment

Without a healthy biosphere, there is no human future.

Current models of industrialization and consumption are eroding biodiversity, degrading the environment, and impacting the ability of ecosystems to support human communities. Climate change and other environmental challenges are creating a health crisis of planetary dimension, with impacts falling disproportionately on vulnerable and historically marginalized populations.

Comprehensively understanding the linkages between the environment and human health allows us to design policies and systems that account for the true costs of environmental degradation and conservation.

The field of human and planetary health brings together perspectives from environmental sciences, public health, systems thinking, and other disciplines to achieve breakthroughs and find solutions. Our working group builds on a vibrant community of engaged faculty, staff, and students. More than 70 faculty and Stanford leaders across campus are active in human and planetary health and student engagement is high in all our work.


We empower solutions-oriented research aimed at human and ecosystem health by fostering interdisciplinary and community-based collaboration. Specifically, we provide seed grants, host research convenings, train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and work with partners on projects that integrate ecology, environment, health, and equity.


We train leaders through teaching and scholarship at all levels, with new courses of study, experiential learning opportunities, and career development. Through an interdisciplinary, systems-thinking lens, we support the next generation to better understand an interconnected set of challenges – and think creatively about how to solve them.


We accelerate human and planetary health action through policy development, strategic communications, private-sector innovations, and community-engaged solutions. By engaging students and faculty with business and community partners, we also support the development of professional pathways and partnerships to mitigate global catastrophic risks.

Areas of Focus

Human & planetary health recognizes the health of people and the planet as critical to a sustainable future. Reaching across the university and beyond, we aim to investigate and address these interdependencies to create and preserve a livable future

Climate & health: Using climate science to protect communities against extreme weather, wildfires, and other impacts of climate change.
Pollution & health: Envisioning restructured industries that manage ocean, land, and air pollution, support health, and build resilient economies.
Ecology & infectious disease: Creating solutions that protect and restore ecosystems to reduce emergence of disease-causing pathogens.
Food, health & the environment: Developing food systems that support livelihoods, mitigate climate change, and promote health – on land and at sea.

Latest Projects

Partner Events

Jan 12, 12:00 am

Environmental Humanities Workshop