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Mother/Earth Under the Microscope: Climate Change and Women's Health

Mother/Earth Under the Microscope: Climate Change and Women's Health

September 14th, 2023
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Central (Chicago) Time
Rosalind Franklin University
Centennial Room RWCLC 2.068
In-Person/Live Zoom Webinar

Complimentary admission.




Re-thinking Women's Health in a Changing Climate

Climate change is a significant threat to global health due to heat exposure, poor air and water quality, food security, vector-borne diseases, and extreme weather events. Women, pregnant women, children, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable due to socioeconomic, cultural, and physiologic factors, threatening to widen gender-based health disparities. The research and medical communities need to recognize climate change as a threat to patient health and address it as a public health, social justice, human rights, political, and gender issue. This presentation will focus on the effects of climate change on women's health and reframe the role of healthcare providers and researchers in addressing both climate change and its disparities.

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science designates this live activity for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Continuing Education Information


3:00 p.m. - Welcome by RFUMS President, Dr. Wendy Rheault
3:05 p.m. - Opening Remarks by Kristine Jennings Burgess, MS, PA-C, CLC
3:10 p.m. - Keynote by Cecilia Sorensen, M.D.
3:50 p.m. - Audience Q&A
3:55 p.m. - Break
4:00 p.m. - Panel Discussion
4:45 p.m. - Audience Q&A
4:55 p.m. - Wrap-up and Thank-you's


"Re-thinking Women's Health in a Changing Climate"

Cecilia Sorensen

Cecilia Sorensen, MD

Director, Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, Columbia University Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health Associate Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Cecilia Sorensen, MD is the Director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia Irving Medical Center and Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. As a physician-investigator at the nexus of climate change and human health, translating research into policy, clinical action, and education to build resilience in vulnerable communities is the focus of her research. Her recent work has spanned domestic as well as international emergent health issues related to climate change, including, extreme heat, degraded air quality, extreme weather events, emerging infectious diseases, women’s health, and worker health. Dr. Sorensen is a member of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and serves on the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative for Decarbonization of the U.S. Health Sector. She is the co-editor of the textbook Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice.


Wendy Rheault

Wendy Rheault, PT, PhD, FASAHP, FNAP, DipACLM

President and CEO

President and CEO Wendy Rheault, PT, PhD, FASAHP, FNAP, who stepped into her new role on July 1, 2019, has served the university in numerous faculty and administrative capacities for nearly 40 years. Named the first provost of the institution in 2014, she spent the next four years working closely with the president, deans and vice presidents in developing academic priorities, providing strategic direction and ensuring academic accountability.


Kristine Jennings Burgess

Kristine Jennings Burgess, MS, PA‑C, CLC

Director of Didactic Education & Assistant Professor
Physician Assistant Department, College of Health Professions, RFUMS

Kristine Burgess received her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Practice from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. After PA school she practiced Family Medicine with a focus on Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Dermatology, and Acute Care. She joined the faculty of the Rosalind Franklin University PA Program in February 2014. Her academic focus includes Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dermatology, Hematology, Clinical Laboratory, and Physical Assessment. She is a member of the Association of PAs in Obstetrics & Gynecology (APAOG) and serves on the APAOG Education Committee. In addition to her work as a PA educator, Kristine is a certified lactation consultant and a member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.


"Is climate change a gender issue?"


Christopher Todd Beer Photo

Christopher 'Todd' Beer, PhD, MA, BFA

Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Lake Forest College

Todd Beer, Associate Professor of Sociology at Lake Forest College, conducts research and teaches about the sociology of climate change, climate change social movements, and cultural globalization. His research sites include communities and organizations throughout Kenya, and major protest events in Chicago, Washington DC, New York, and Paris. His current research examines the ways in which global cultural norms around environmental conservation, gender quality, and education as a formal pathway to development interact in a rural Maasai community in southern Kenya. Additionally, his research examines support for anticapitalist policies among climate change protesters, support for global climate justice among US protestors, and the opinions and actions of NGOs throughout Africa that are members of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

Thinking About Global Warming Through A Different Lens | Todd Beer | TEDxLakeForestCollege


Jim Burgess

Jim Burgess

Director of Sustainability

Jim Burgess leads all aspects of Medline’s sustainability efforts. He has 20 years of Medline experience starting off as an intern and then as a project engineer. He has led engineering, product development, and operations teams in his previous roles at Medline. Jim’s main expertise, and the bulk of his career, has been in plastics where he has led the implementation of many new capital projects. Throughout his career, he has been involved with sustainability as it relates to plastic in areas such as packaging reduction and efficiency, weight reduction, recyclability, and alternative material development. Jim has a bachelor of science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Neha Basi Photo

Neha Basti

Class of 2025
Chicago School of Medicine, RFUMS

Neha Basti is a third-year medical student at Chicago Medical School. She studied Neuroscience and Sociology at Northwestern University and graduated in 2020 as a Brady Scholar in Ethics and Civic Life. Prior to medical school, she served in AmeriCorps, working on the research team at University of Chicago Medicine’s Comprehensive Care Program. Neha is the Founding Co-Director of the Chicago Medical School Chapter of the Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC), alongside M3 classmate Allison Monie. Together, they led a team of 22 medical students in completing this inaugural report on planetary health within CMS education. The project has set a foundation for increased collaboration across faculty, administrators, and students with the shared goal of bringing greater focus to climate change in medical education at CMS. 


Regina de Leon Gomez Photo

Regina de Leon Gomez, MD, FACOG, LSSGB (Moderator)

Clinical Foundations of Medicine Course Director & Assistant Professor
Chicago Medical School, RFUMS

Dr. Gomez became a climate activist after learning the "inconvenient truth" at the 2017 Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. Leveraging her experiences as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, she began grass-roots work in her faith community, the League of Women Voters, and the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists. Dr. Gomez helped to establish the Illinois Clinicians for Climate Action to encourage other health care professionals to use their voice to protect our environment and the health of the community.  She welcomes anyone who wishes to join in climate advocacy efforts- together, we can realize a better future for ourselves and our children.