The Impact of Climate Change on Infectious Diseases

April 22 - April 23, 2021

How does the health of the environment affect our health?

Catastrophic events, human migration and disease transmission are on the rise because of climate change.

Learn from national and local experts about these issues and what you can do to address them at the 8th Annual Global Health and Infectious Disease Conference.

This conference will take place from 10am-1:15pm on April 22 & 23. Each day will feature a webinar with presentations on a variety of topics related to climate change and infectious disease. Day two will include a panel discussion on lessons learned from COVID-19 to inform the impact of climate change on infectious disease. Additionally, attendees will have the option to sign up for virtual table conversations with speakers and organizers on each day.

Topics will include:

  • Pandemics
  • Flood Systems
  • Diarrheal Disease
  • West Nile Virus
  • Volcanic Eruptions
  • Policy
  • One Health
  • Social-Cultural Factors

This event will take place virtually via Zoom. Please register to receive your own unique link to access the webinar.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

Interviews with the Speakers


View and download the full agenda and speaker bios for this event.

Thursday, April 22

10:00am   Welcome
  • Victoria Fraser, MD
    Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine and Chair, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine
10:10am   Introduction
  • Victor Dávila-Román, MD
    Professor of Medicine, Anesthesiology, and Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine
  • David Fike, PhD
    Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of Environmental Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
10:20am    Presentations
  • COVID-19: The Road Travelled and the Path Ahead
    Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, MD, MPH
    Clinical Instructor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Warmer and Wetter: Infectious Diseases on the Move in a Changing Climate
    Kristie Ebi, PhD, MPH
    Professor, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Washington
  • Climate Change Impacts on Human Health: Diarrheal Disease, Surface Water Influences, and Infrastructure Vulnerability in Flood Pulse Systems in Africa
    Kathleen Alexander, DVM, PhD
    Professor, Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech
    Director, Chobe Research Institute, Kasane Botswana
11:15am   Q&A
11:25am   Break
11:35am   Presentations
  • Historical Correlations Among Volcanic Eruptions, Climate Change, and Pandemics
    Michael Wysession, PhD
    Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University
  • A Time of Great Opportunities – One Health in an Age of Climate Change, Extinctions, and a Pandemic
    Sharon L. Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM
    Director, Institute for Conservation Medicine, Saint Louis Zoo
12:15pm   Q&A
12:25pm   Table Conversations
  • Kathleen Alexander, DVM, PhD
  • Gaya Amarasinghe, PhD
  • Sharon L. Deem, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACZM
  • Kristie Ebi, PhD, MPH
  • David Fike, PhD
  • Joe Fleckenstein, MD
  • Kim Medley, PhD
  • Jonathan Losos, PhD
  • Joe Steensma, EdD
  • Michael Wysession, PhD
1:10pm   Concluding Remarks
  • David Fike, PhD
    Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of Environmental Studies, Washington University in St. Louis


Friday, April 23

10:00am   Welcome and Introduction
  • Beth Martin
    Teaching Professor in Environmental Studies and Associate Director of Washington University Climate Change Program
10:10am   Presentations
  • Climate Change, Conflict and Connectivity across Borders: Sociocultural Factors Affecting the Frontline of Public Health Response
    Rebecca Merrill, PhD, MHS
    Lead, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Improving Predictions of West Nile Virus Risk Through Recognition of the Scale-Dependence of Weather Drivers
    Sara Paull, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Climate Change: Be Prepared and Act!
    Steve Mahfood
    Former Head of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
11:10am   Q&A
11:30am   Break
11:40am   Panel: Lessons Learned from COVID to Inform the Impact of Climate Change on Infectious Diseases
  • Kathleen Alexander
  • Sharon Deem
  • Kristie Ebi
  • Steve Mahfood
  • Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis
  • Rebecca Merrill
  • Sara Paull
  • Michael Wysession
12:25pm   Table Conversations
  • Steve Mahfood
  • Beth Martin, MS, PE
  • Kim Medley, PhD
  • Rebecca Merrill, PhD, MHS
  • Sara Paull, PhD
  • Joe Steensma, EdD, MPH
1:10pm   Concluding Remarks
  • Kim Medley, PhD
    Director, Tyson Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis

Event Sponsors: Global Health Center and its Global Health Student Advisory Committee, International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, Tyson Research Center, Living Earth Collaborative, Brown School MPH Program and Washington University Climate Change Program