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Programs in Engagement

Action Lab for Planetary Health (ALPHA)

Led by Dr. Michele Barry, Allison Phillips, and Erika Veidis of the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, the Action Lab for Human and Planetary Health (ALPHA) is an evidence-to-action initiative that stimulates change in an emerging field central to sustainability: human and planetary health. Funded by the Stanford Sustainability Initiative, ALPHA supports Stanford researchers with translating their findings to impact through changes in policy and practice.

Photo by Mega Caesaria.


The health of human communities depends on local ecosystems, but unprecedented anthropogenic pressures are causing profound environmental changes. Critical threats include biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, deforestation, and the mismanagement of freshwater resources and ocean systems. Marginalized communities and low- and middle-income countries are suffering disproportionately. 

Research on the impacts of environmental change on human health is accelerating, and public recognition of these urgent challenges is mounting – but the world is not changing fast enough: policies and practices are not hitting the mark, resulting in continued environmental degradation, increased disease, and worsening outcomes for the health and security of communities around the world.


To bridge the gap between scientific evidence in human and planetary health and implementation by translating new knowledge into strategic messages, policy recommendations, and other solutions.


In health, prevention beats treatment every time – if we can bridge the gap between scientific evidence, policy, and community action. Stanford, with its unique ability to bring systems thinking to complex problems and conduct solutions-oriented research, holds unprecedented potential to disseminate evidence, influence policies and practices, and create impact. However, without a focus on translating new knowledge into strategic messages and proposed solutions that speak to policymakers and other decision makers in a timely and effective way, we run the risk of research sitting on shelves and in silos, failing to influence large-scale change.

ALPHA partners with Stanford researchers to design research questions, review findings, identify opportunities for translating science to impact, and advance action through policy influence, community interventions, and strategic communications.

We are grateful for support from the Stanford Sustainability Initiative and The UPS Foundation Endowment Fund.

For more information about ALPHA, please contact Erika Veidis: