Gina McCarthy, Former Administrator of EPA, To Become Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment

Gina McCarthy

She has also been appointed to the Harvard Chan School’s primary faculty as Professor of the Practice of Public Health.

We are pleased to announce that Gina McCarthy will serve as Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment effective January 1, 2018. She has been appointed to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s primary faculty as Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health, effective November 1, 2017.

In her capacity as Director of the Center, she will lead the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability; strengthen the school’s climate science and health curriculum; and liaise with climate science leaders across the University.

“Gina McCarthy’s leadership will improve the Center’s ability to accelerate change for a healthier, more sustainable world,” said Professor John D. Spengler, current Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment. “For 21 years, the Center’s mission has included linking carbon-based fuel emissions to air pollution and its harmful impact on public health. Professor McCarthy is poised to bring this connection more sharply into public focus.”

Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. She served under President Barack Obama as the 13th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 2013 to 2017. Her tenure as EPA Administrator heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. She led EPA initiatives that 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 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. McCarthy worked with the UN and WHO on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high-risk sources of pollution.

A longtime public servant, McCarthy was previously Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and Undersecretary of Policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. In the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy strengthened collaborative efforts with public health organizations across the U.S. to identify and manage indoor air pollution triggers that contribute to childhood asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as policies to reduce emissions and other airborne pollutants, improving fuel efficiency, promoting alternative fuels, and mitigating harmful exposures to radon gas. In Connecticut, she was instrumental in developing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate effort to reduce emissions contributing to global warming, which has spurred economic growth, improved public health, and decreased electricity prices across the region. During her career in Massachusetts, McCarthy advised five governors on environmental affairs, worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues, and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.

McCarthy is currently an Operating Advisor at Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm in New York that is focused on global sustainability, health and wellness, and the intersection of these two areas. Previously, she was a Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health from January to May 2017. She holds a master of science in environmental health engineering and planning and policy from Tufts University and a bachelor of arts in social anthropology from UMass Boston.