Health | COVID-19 Research Task Team | Team Members

Ben Zaitchik

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Dr. Zaitchik is the chair of the Task Team and represents John Hopkins University and GEO Health. He holds a PhD in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. Ben is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins. He is an Earth scientist whose work includes study of fundamental atmospheric and hydrological processes as well as application of this knowledge to problems of water resources, agriculture, and human health. In this context, Dr. Zaitchik leads multiple projects that apply Earth Observation to study and predict infectious diseases, including work on malaria, cholera, enteric pathogens, and, most recently, COVID-19.




Judy Omumbo

The Science for Africa Foundation, Nairobi

Dr. Judith A. Omumbo, is the co-chair of the Task Team and holds a PhD in Epidemiology from Oxford University. Her research interests  involve building the capacity of the health sector in Africa to use climate information effectively for decision- making in the control of climate-sensitive diseases. She has contributed significantly to the development of the use of maps and Geographic Information Systems to undertake the spatial and temporal distribution of malaria in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa over the past 15 years of her career. She also serves as a technical advisor on malaria international program of the World Health Organization




David Farrell

Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, Bridgetown, Barbados

Dr. Farrell is the Principal of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the technical Organ of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization. Over the last 13 years, he has been heavily involved in pre-and post-impact assessments following the passage of hydro-meteorological events through the Caribbean, in particular, the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. He has worked with the international community to design and implemented end-to-end early warning platforms in the Caribbean that integrate hazard, vulnerability, and socio-economic information.




Ken Takahashi Guevara


Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP), Lima, Peru

Dr. Ken Takahashi holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle. As a post-doctoral researcher he focused on global climate change at Princeton University and the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. He is a former Executive President of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (SENAMHl, 2017-2021), and is currently a Principal Research Scientist and Director of Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences at IGP, as well as a member of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Joint Scientific Committee and an associate editor of Journal of Climate. 




Juli Trtanj

NOAA Climate Programme Office, Washington DC, USA

Juli is the One Health and Integrated Climate and Weather Extremes Research Lead for NOAA and is responsible for developing and implementing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Health Strategy. She is the co-chair of the WMO Service Commission Health Study Group, lead for Integrated Information Systems for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and is directly involved with the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners in the development of the Integrated Information Systems for heat, cholera and other water-related illnesses. She has contributed to, reviewed, or edited sections of several IPCC and US National Climate Assessment reports and authored several book chapters and journal articles.




Rosa Barciela 

UK Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom

Prof. Rosa Barciela is the UK Met Office’s Principal Consultant in Applied Science and Strategic Head of Health Science Integration at the UK Met Office. She is also the science lead of the bilateral Weather and Climate Science for Services Programme UK-South Africa, and a professor at the University of Exeter Medical School and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. Her experience is the result of over 20 years working on the design, development, analysis, evaluation and delivery of projections and prediction systems from short-range to seasonal and climate timescales as well as applying those skills to provide end-user driven solutions.




Yun Gao


Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, People's Republic of China

Dr. GAO Yun is Vice President of Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences (CAMS) is mainly engaged in scientific assessment and policy research on climate change. Since 2002, she has been involved in relevant affairs of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and international negotiations on climate change at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, as core member of the negotiation team of the delegation of the Chinese Government.  She is in charge of the Chinese Government review on IPCC assessment reports during the whole IPCC AR5 cycle. She was the Lead author of China's National Assessment of Climate Change, and participated 17 times in the Plenary Sessions and Bureau Meetings of the IPCC as a member of the Chinese delegation or as a representative of the Chinese Government.




Emily YY Chan

The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Hong Kong People's Republic of China

Prof. Emily Ying Yang Chan serves as Professor and Assistant Dean (Global Engagement) at Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She is Director of the Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC), the Centre for Global Health (CGH), and the Centre of Excellence (ICoE-CCOUC) of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), and Deputy Director of the CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme. Her research interests include disaster and humanitarian medicine, climate change and health, global and planetary health, human health security, Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM), implementation and translational science, remote rural health, ethnic minority health, injury and violence epidemiology, and primary care.




Sophie Gumy

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Dr Sophie Gumy is Technical Officer in the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization since 2009. She is leading WHO's work on evidence synthesis, capacity-building and monitoring of ambient air pollution exposure and related disease burden. Prior to joining the Air Quality and Health unit, she was working on the burden of disease from various environmental risk factors, including air pollution, water and sanitation and climate change. She is a scientist by training and holds a PhD in Biophysics and Molecular Biology and a MSc in Public Health.



Masahiro Hashizume




Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Prof. Hashizume is a professor of the School of International Health, the University of Tokyo. He is a physician and an environmental epidemiologist with particular interest in the health impacts of climate change and climate variability. He had his residency training in paediatrics in Tokyo, then received MSc in Environmental Health and Policy from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and PhD from the Univ. of London (LSHTM). Prof. Hashizume is currently the Lead author of IPCC AR6 and member of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Climate Change and Environment. 




Rachel Lowe