Who We Are:
Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action (GCCA) is a coalition of health professionals and health organizations concerned about the impacts of climate change on Georgia residents, and especially those in vulnerable populations. GCCA was founded in response to health harms that patients are already experiencing and that health professionals are witnessing in patient care settings and communities throughout Georgia.
GCCA engages Georgia health professionals and patients to learn about the health effects of climate change and the health benefits of climate action in order to achieve equitable solutions that mitigate climate change, protect the health of Georgians, and support the shift to a healthy and sustainable future for our patients.
Provide Leadership: As representatives of our organizations, we will advocate for climate action to protect health, promoting the U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda. Download the Policy Action Agenda>
Engage and Inform: We will engage and inform our constituencies of doctors, nurses, public health workers, hospitals, health systems, and policymakers about the health risks from climate change and the health benefits of climate action. As health professionals, we will serve as messengers to our communities and our governments on climate and health risks as well as actions to avoid the most dangerous future consequences of climate change. We will provide vital guidance to our patients on risks to their own health from the changing climate, ways to manage their health in the face of these risks, and lifestyle changes that improve their own health and that of the planet.
Advocate Locally and Statewide: We will work within our communities and throughout Georgia to advocate for emissions reductions and/or low-carbon development strategies that promote both a healthy climate and public health. We will call for solutions that reduce the local health impacts of fossil fuels; solutions that foster clean energy and social justice; and solutions that save lives and money while protecting our patients and public health from climate change.
Mitigate: We will lead by example and reduce our own carbon footprint and that of our own institutions and practices. We will strive to make our hospitals greener and healthier by advocating for waste reduction, energy efficiency and clean energy, sustainable transport options, and sustainable procurement and resource consumption. By doing so, we commit to demonstrating how our health system and society can move toward carbon neutrality and avoid contributing to the public health and individual harms associated with climate change.
Adapt: We will strive to make our workforce and our health systems more resilient—better-prepared to withstand natural disasters and respond to their human toll without disruptions in healthcare delivery. We will prepare ourselves and our colleagues to practice in a changing climate—one with new threats to patient health and shifting patterns of disease.
Jennifer L. Barkin, MS, PhD is an Associate Professor of Community Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia. As part of her doctoral research and time as an analyst at the University of Pittsburgh’s Epidemiology Data Center, Barkin attained considerable skill in survey development, both designing and psychometrically validating the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF). She has participated on national advisory panels, various expert panels related to perinatal health, and serves on the Board of Directors for Postpartum Support International, Georgia Chapter where she is the Chair of Corporate Sponsors and Partnerships. Dr. Barkin also serves on the clinical advisory board for Memora Heath, a MedTech company based in San Francisco, California. Dr. Barkin is interested in extreme weather events and their impact on vulnerable populations.
|Evan Brockman, MD, MPH is a pediatrician in Marietta, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Biology and Anthropology, before earning her medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, NC. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Northwestern University Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. She also received a Master of Public Health degree from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before taking time off to focus on her family, Dr. Brockman worked for fifteen years at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Brockman enjoys speaking to medical students and community groups on climate change and health.|
|Anne Mellinger-Birdsong, MD, MPH, FAAP graduated from the College of William and Mary, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. She completed a pediatrics residency at Hershey Medical Center of the Pennsylvania State University, following which she became board certified in pediatrics and a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She then completed a Master of Public Health in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as a medical epidemiologist at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Georgia Division/Department of Public Health, and the American Lung Association of Georgia. She has served as Director of Mothers and Others for Clean Air, given grand rounds about climate and health through a grant from Union of Concerned Scientists, and does health education about air pollution, climate change, and health. She was worked in areas as diverse as communicable diseases, vaccine preventable diseases, radiation environmental health, chronic disease and environmental public health, asthma, a county STD clinic, and a Native American Indian Health Service clinic. She is Vice Chair of the GA-AAP committee on environmental health, and a member of the GA-AAP legislative committee.|
Alex Kendall MS, PA-C is a Physician Assistant and Associate Director of Emory University’s PA program in Atlanta, Georgia. He studied sociocultural anthropology and Fine Arts at Tufts University and the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and later obtained a master's degree from Rosalind Franklin University in physician assistant medicine. He was quickly drawn to sociocultural and environmental aspects of health when practicing as a hospitalist at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, and become passionate about medical education and population health thereafter. Alex sees the climate crisis as an immense opportunity for transformation and collaboration across all sectors of community health, education and the arts and is determined to make Georgia a leader in the national movement towards climate justice.
|Neha Pathak, MD, DipABLM is board certified in both internal medicine and lifestyle medicine. She is on the medical team responsible for ensuring the accuracy of health information on WebMD and is co-founder of WebMD’s Sustainability Committee. She completed the VA Quality Scholar Fellowship Program, where she focused on quality improvement and implementation science training. She completed her certificate in climate change and health communication from Yale School of Public Health. Pathak sees patients at the Clarkston Community Health Center. She works with local communities dealing with the health impacts of environmental pollution as part of her work as a board member for the non-profit, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL). She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.|
|Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP (Senior Advisor) is Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Emeritus Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GWU. He currently is the volunteer leader of the American Academy of Pediatrics Program on Climate Change. He is a consultant to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health; and a founding member of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action. Dr. Paulson is a past chairperson of the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has also served as a special assistant to the director of the National Center on Environmental Health of the CDC working on children’s environmental health issues. He has served on numerous boards and committees related to children’s environmental health, has chaired or been on the steering committee of many meetings about children’s environmental health. Dr. Paulson resides in Virginia.|
|Rebecca Philipsborn, MD, MPA is a primary care pediatrician at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Before becoming a physician, she was a health care management consultant in New York and worked at the West Africa Regional Bureau of the World Food Programme in Dakar, Senegal on maternal and child health and nutrition. Her scholarly work focuses on global child health and mortality and climate change – in practice and in medical education. She completed medical school and residency training at Emory and holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s Earth Institute Program.|
|Linda I. Walden, MD, FAAFP mission is "Reaching Out to Make a Difference" in rural Southwest Georgia. A native of St. Albans, New York, she came back to her family roots in Cairo/Thomasville, GA to do God's will. She is a graduate of Florida A and M University and Mercer University School of Medicine. She is the first female physician black or white as well as the first African American Chief of Staff at Grady General Hospital in Cairo, GA. Upon moving to Grady County, she did a visual assessment of her community and realized she needed to do more than just practice medicine. She is a family physician, visionary, mentor, news columnist, catalyst, trailblazer, motivational speaker on local, state, and national levels, and founder of ‘Health is Life’ Ministry.|
|Yolanda Whyte, MD is a pediatrician based out of metro-Atlanta who specializes in environmental health. Through her virtual environmental health practice, she provides consultations, coaching, and advocacy to assess risk exposures and reduce the body toxin burden. Through public speaking and expert medical testimony, Dr. Whyte communicates the health impacts of climate change and other environmental issues to healthcare professionals, legislators, and other groups to strengthen our laws, policies, and medical practices with health-protective strategies and solutions. She emphasizes health disparities, environmental justice, and pediatric impacts. Dr. Whyte currently serves on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee, the board of Eco-Action, a local environmental justice organization, and the Health Committee of the Atlanta Black Chambers. She has held past leadership positions with the National Medical Association’s Commission on Environmental Health and Physicians for Social Responsibility-Florida chapter and is a recipient of the EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Hero Award. After graduating from Howard University and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, she completed her pediatric internship at the Medical College of Virginia and community pediatrics residency at Morehouse School of Medicine.|
|Kimberly D. Williams, PhD (Staff) is the Program Manager for Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action. Kimberly is a consultant who works with a diverse range of healthcare clients. She has experience developing alliances, researching, and advocating for health equity at the local, state, and federal levels. She holds a PhD in Leadership and Organizational Management. With experience in non-profit, corporate, and academic environments, she has had the opportunity to present and facilitate health and advocacy discussions academically and at local and regional conferences. She is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles on leadership development, strategic management, telecommuting, and telework.|
Email us at: GCCAinfo@GACCA.org
The Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action (GCCA) formed in November of 2019 with a group of health professionals who recognized the absence of the clinician voice in climate discussions in Georgia. These professionals saw first-hand and heard more accounts of climate-associated harms and illnesses already manifest in exam room and hospitals across the states and climate associated shocks and stressors on healthcare delivery. They witnessed the interest of their colleagues in climate change and formed GCCA to provide education and resources to their colleagues, advocate for patients, and elevate their collective voices.
GCCA is the Georgia affiliate of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (MSCCH), which is based at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communications. About the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (MSCCH): The mission of the Consortium is to inform the public and policymakers about the harmful health effects of climate change, and about the immediate and long-term health benefits associated with climate change solutions.