Saint Mary’s Hosts 2021 Spring Shannon Scholar

Dr. Renee SalasSaint Mary’s College welcomed alumna Renee N. Salas ’03, MD, MPH, MS, as the spring 2020 Shannon Scholar. An emergency room physician and Yerby Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Salas visited with students in three virtual sessions throughout the day to share her insights on climate change and public health. Her final presentation was to an audience of students, faculty, and staff, as well as invited medical professionals from the region.

After graduating from Saint Mary’s in 2003 with bachelor of science in biology and minors in chemistry and psychology, Dr. Salas went on to earn her Doctor of Medicine from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, an innovative five-year medical school program to train physician-investigators. Concurrently she obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Research. She completed a four-year emergency medicine residency at the birthplace of emergency medicine, the University of Cincinnati, and matriculated to a Fellowship in Wilderness Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She earned her Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with a concentration in environmental health, in 2016.

Dr. Salas, a practicing emergency medicine physician, focuses her career on the intersection of the climate crisis, health, and healthcare delivery. She has served as the lead author of the Lancet Countdown since 2018 and founded and leads its working group of over 70 U.S. organizations on climate change and health. Dr. Salas was a co-director for the first Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice Symposium and co-leads the broader initiative in partnership with The New England Journal of Medicine. She also serves on the planning committee for the National Academy of Medicine’s Climate Change and Human Health Initiative.

Testifying before Congress for the full House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Dr. Salas described how climate change is harming health. Her research on how climate change is impacting the healthcare system and developing evidence-based adaptation.

Dr. Salas lectures and serves on committees at the nexus of climate and health nationally and internationally, advises and publishes in high impact journals, and her work and expertise are regularly featured in mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, NPR, Time, and the Associated Press.

Founder and past Chair of the Climate Change and Health Interest Group at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine, Dr. Salas is also a faculty member in the Center for Social Justice and Health Equity at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition, she is the recipient of the Clinician-Teacher Development Award from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Shore Fellowship from Harvard Medical School.

The Shannon Scholars Program, established by a generous gift from Professor William N. Shannon and his wife Bonnie, invites exceptional alumnae back to campus to share their experiences with students, faculty, staff, and the local community.


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