© Hugh M. Hefner Foundation 2019
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DR. GEORGE LUBER

2019 HONOREE

Government

Dr. George E. Luber, PhD, is an epidemiologist and the former Chief of the Climate and Health Program in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He receives a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for his outspoken defense of science education and climate change.

After the 2016 Trump election, Dr. Luber was directed to cancel a conference on climate change with Al Gore; he refused on the basis of science education and was outspoken on the issue. The Climate Program was then merged with the Asthma program and Dr. Luber was vocal that the $10M set aside by Congress explicitly for climate change research should not be used for asthma studies. Administrators did not respond and the CDC sent Dr. Luber home on administrative leave. In December 2018, Dr. Luber took a public stand. Reporters from the New York Times ran a story about his administrative exile and the CDC withdrew his proposed termination. As a result of going public with his story, groups from across the world have begun campaigns to restore the climate change and health program.

Since receiving his PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Georgia, and joining CDC in 2002, Dr. Luber has served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and staff epidemiologist at the National Center for Environmental Health. His research interests in Environmental Health are broad and include the health impacts of environmental change and biodiversity loss, harmful algal blooms, and the health effects of climate change. Most recently, his work has focused on the epidemiology and prevention of heat-related illness and death, the application of remote sensing techniques to modeling vulnerability to heat stress in urban environments, and climate change adaptation planning.

In addition to managing the Climate Change Program at CDC, Dr. Luber is a former Co-Chair of the Climate Change and Human Health Interagency Workgroup at the US Global Change Research Program, a Convening Lead Author for the 3rd and 4th US National Climate Assessment, and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fifth Assessment Report.

Dr. Luber is also Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Environmental Health, Anthropology, and Environmental Science at Emory University.

Read Karen Tumulty's Washington Post column documenting Dr. Luber's experience.

George Luber Acceptance Video