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Jun 22, 2023

Dr. Vanessa Kerry appointed as WHO Special Envoy

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FA News Desk
Dr. Vanessa Kerry
Dr. Vanessa Kerry

The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed of Dr Vanessa Kerry as the first-ever Director-General Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health.

Dr Kerry, CEO of Seed Global Health, a renowned global health expert and medical doctor, will play a pivotal role in amplifying WHO’s climate and health messaging and undertake high-level advocacy.

Climate change is emerging as the greatest health challenge of the 21st century, impacting various aspects of human well-being. Extreme weather events, noncommunicable and infectious diseases, as well as health infrastructure and workforce capacity, are all being significantly affected.

Dr Kerry will bring her invaluable expertise and leadership to the forefront in supporting WHO. As the Director-General Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health, Dr Kerry will undertake key responsibilities, including:

She will assume a role in mobilizing resources to advance the work of the WHO, seeking out new partners and influential figures, including prominent personalities, recognizing their potential to lend their expertise and resources to amplify WHO’s initiatives.

“I am honoured to serve as the WHO Director-General Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health. The climate crisis is a health crisis – it poses a fundamental threat to global health, and urgent action is needed to mitigate and adapt against this complex challenge. Climate change is already wreaking havoc across the world – from the cholera outbreak in Malawi to heat-related illness in India – we must invest in strong health systems now which are resilient against these impacts. I will work with WHO and its partners to drive awareness, develop solutions and build consensus for action for a healthier future for everyone on this planet,” said Dr Kerry.

Dr Kerry is the co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health (Seed), a non-profit organization focused on health systems strengthening and transformation through long-term investments and training of the health workforce. Under her leadership, Seed has helped educate more than 34 000 doctors, nurses, and midwives in seven countries, helping to improve health care for more than 73 million people.

She is a critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and is the associate director of partnerships and global initiatives at the MGH Center for Global Health. She directs the Global Public Policy and Social Change programme at Harvard Medical School, focusing on links between security and health.

She is the mother of two children.