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Post-doctoral Fellowship in Human and Planetary Health

The Human and Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, hosted by the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, the Woods Institute for the Environment, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), cultivates new knowledge at the intersections of health and global environmental change – and corresponding solutions. Throughout the two-year fellowship, fellows focus on conducting ground-breaking research, translating their work into policy and practice, and serving as ambassadors for change in response to human and planetary health needs.

Photo Credit: Fintrac Inc.

Background

Throughout history, the health of human communities has been tied to local ecosystems. Currently, the pressures of population growth, consumption, and industrial development are increasingly yielding complex and devastating consequences for our planetary systems, with impacts so severe that they threaten the health of future generations. Critical threats include biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, deforestation, and the mismanagement of freshwater resources and ocean systems – with related health consequences such as declining nutrition and food security, expanding disease risks, and threatened mental health. Moreover, many of these challenges disproportionately affect the world’s most marginalized, under-resourced, and already vulnerable communities, making human and planetary health action an urgent case of environmental justice and health equity. 


POTENTIAL RESEARCH TOPICS

Much remains to be understood – not just in terms of how environmental challenges will impact our health and our communities, but in terms of how we can take action. Areas for deeper inquiry could include:

• Understanding environmentally-affected infectious disease patterns, disease-poverty traps, and risks for potential future pandemics; 

• Supporting sustainable food security and nutrition – including through carbon-sinking, biodiversity-supporting, water-preserving agricultural solutions;

• Understanding the health impacts of climate-induced shifts in droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather – and opportunities to protect vulnerable communities;

• Identifying economic policies, incentive structures, and circular economic innovations that safeguard cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier people;

• Understanding urban designs that mitigate negative environmental impacts and support health; 

• Exploring the mental health consequences of environmental change and disaster-related trauma – and finding ways to address these growing problems;

• Understanding the disproportionate impacts of environmental harms on marginalized and Indigenous populations – and aligning behind these communities in developing solutions.


FELLOWS (2021-2023)

The inaugural Human and Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellows include:

• Dr. Elaine Flores, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who focuses on understanding the mental health impacts of climate change and natural disasters, particularly as mediated by social capital; 

• Dr. Britt Wray, based at Stanford, who is continuing to explore the various manifestations of ecoanxiety as a response to global environmental challenges and assess possible paths forward.


APPLICATION

Applications for the next cohort of Human and Planetary Health Fellows will open fall 2021. 

Requirements: Fellows enjoy substantial time to pursue their research interests and are expected to present their research both internally and at international meetings – as well as publish their research findings in international peer-reviewed journals. Fellows also have the opportunity to contribute to teaching, for example as teaching assistants or guest lecturers, on relevant courses at Stanford and LSHTM. Fellows are expected to be active participants in the Fellowship scheme by helping LSHTM and Stanford shape the future of human and planetary health, advocate for the Fellowship program, and contribute internally and externally to relevant meetings and activities. Fellows may also be asked to hold office hours to meet with LSHTM and Stanford students when requested.

Eligibility: The Human and Planetary Health Fellowship program is open to researchers from anywhere in the world who are within three years (full time) of having been awarded their doctoral degree by the application deadline. Demonstrated interest and prior research output in planetary health, global health, or the intersection of health and environmental science is a prerequisite. Instruction and support will be provided in English, and high-level proficiency in the English language is a requirement of the Fellowship.

Stay tuned for more details, and please email Erika Veidis with any questions: eveidis@stanford.edu.