A passionate advocate for sustainability, public health and environmental protection, addressing climate change and increasing renewable resources, Gina McCarthy is one of the world’s most respected voices on the critical interconnection between the environment and global public health. For more than 30 years as a career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and now, at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, she has championed common sense strategies that protect the environment and public health while fostering economic growth.
McCarthy gained international recognition as head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, leading historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. During her tenure, EPA initiatives cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts.
McCarthy served as Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. On January 1, 2018, she stepped up as Director of Harvard Chan’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, leading the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability. Previously, she was both a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.