University Professor, Department of Communication
I am a communication scientist with expertise in the uses of strategic communication and social marketing to address climate change and related public health challenges. My research focuses on public understanding of climate change and clean energy; the psychology underlying public engagement; and cultivating trusted voices (e.g. TV weathercasters, health professionals) as effective climate educators. From 2011 to 2014, I co-chaired the Engagement & Communication Working Group for the 3rd National Climate Assessment, and currently advise myriad government agencies, museums, science societies and civic organizations. Previously, I served as an Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and Chairman of the Board for Kidsave International.
■ Our Climate Change in the American Mind research project, conducted in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, tracks and investigates public understanding of climate change and support for climate policies. Our findings have provided critical strategic communication insight, have been published in hundreds of articles, and were cited in the charter statement of the US Congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change.
■ With funding from the National Science Foundation in partnership with Climate Central, the American Meteorological Society, NASA, NOAA, and Yale, we have helped develop the potential of TV weathercasters as local climate educators. The partnership, called Climate Matters, now provides localized materials to more than 790 weathercasters nationwide. Between 2012 and 2019, on-air reporting about climate change by TV weathercasters increased nearly 50-fold.
■ We established the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health – which currently has 25 member societies and 35 affiliate societies – to collaborate with other organizations to increase awareness of the health harms associated with climate change, air pollution and fossil fuel use, and raise awareness of the health benefits of climate and clean energy solutions.