Seed CEO Dr. Vanessa Kerry Named WHO Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health

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Seed Global Health congratulates our CEO Dr. Vanessa Kerry on being appointed the first-ever WHO Director-General Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health. Dr. Kerry was appointed to the position by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a signing ceremony in Paris, France on June 22. 

As a medical doctor and global health expert, Dr. Kerry will play a pivotal role in amplifying WHO’s climate and health messaging and undertake high-level advocacy.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Vanessa Kerry join WHO as our Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health. Her extensive experience and dedication to public health make her an invaluable asset in addressing the health consequences of climate change. Together, we will work towards a more sustainable and resilient future for all,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.

With her clinical and public health experience and an understanding of the impact of climate change on human well-being, Dr. Kerry brings a unique perspective to the role of WHO Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health. Her expertise and leadership will be instrumental in shaping policies and driving transformative action to protect and promote the health of populations in the face of climate challenges.

“I am honored 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 – and 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’s appointment comes during a crucial year for the intersection of climate change and health, with the COP28 Presidency announcing the first-ever day dedicated to health at the summit on December 3, 2023.

About the special envoy role

In this new role, Dr. Kerry will provide strategic counsel to the WHO Director-General and other key decision makers on climate and health strategy, amplify WHO climate and health messaging, advocate for global impact, and help mobilize crucial resources to advance the work of the WHO. 

This new appointment does not change Dr. Kerry’s role as CEO of Seed Global Health, nor does it change Seed’s core mission. Seed’s work in advancing and supporting health workforce priorities in Africa is a well-aligned and critical climate adaptation intervention, and Seed will continue to partner closely with our ministry of health partners to advance their strategies in building a fit-for-purpose health workforce.

Read the official WHO press announcement here.

Read more about Seed Global Health’s work to address the intersection of climate change and health.


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