Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow

Natural Resources Defense Council – Washington, DC

OverviewThe Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) works to safeguard the earth its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. We use science, law, policy expertise and the support of 2.4 million members and online activists to protect the planet s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our staff helped write some of America s bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, and many of the implementing regulations; our air pollution cases played a major role shaping current clean air policy throughout the country. Today, our staff of about 500 lawyers, scientists, policy and communications experts work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bozeman and Beijing.
Position Summary:
Work is a central element in the lives of most adults, but relatively little is known about the occupational health implications of climate change. NRDC is seeking a two-year, full-time Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow who can provide subject matter expertise and conduct multi-disciplinary research and analysis on the occupational health effects of climate change. As part of the Federal Policy team of NRDCs Climate and Clean Energy Program, the Fellow also will develop broadly accessible communication materials about occupational health and climate change to support NRDCs community partnerships, public outreach, and advocacy on climate and clean energy policies (including climate adaptation).
Specific topics and projects undertaken by the Fellow will depend on their expertise and NRDCs programmatic priorities. Some examples of potential projects include:

  • Investigating the health implications of severe drought on outdoor occupations such as construction, agricultural, or recreation workers;
  • Identifying indoor and outdoor worker populations most vulnerable to wildfire smoke;
  • Quantifying the risk of occupational injuries or workplace accidents associated with prolonged work in preparation for, or response to, wildfires, hurricanes, or other extreme events;
  • Assessing how the occupational health threats of climate change interact with other socioeconomic stressors and disparities;
  • Quantifying health care costs imposed on indoor and outdoor workers by climate-related hazards; and
  • Modeling how adaptation measures like an occupational heat safety standard might reduce health harms and related costs, or limit broader economic costs.

  • The Climate Change and Worker Health Science Fellow is supported by NRDCs Science Center and its Science Fellows program, which is a key element of the Science Centers mission to enhance NRDCs scientific capabilities and provide resources and support for policy and advocacy work. The Science Fellows program provides young scientists interested in working in the science, policy and advocacy arena with professional experience and on-the-job training; it is an excellent opportunity to refine existing skills and build new ones, develop professionally, publish work, and gain important competencies.
    The Fellow will ideally be based in our Washington, D.C. office, although exemplary candidates will also be considered for our New York, NY office or our San Francisco, CA office.ResponsibilitiesThe Fellows core responsibilities will include:
  • Working with the Climate and Clean Energy program, the Science Center, and other NRDC staff to identify, understand, and communicate the health threats of climate change to indoor and outdoor workers.
  • Accessing, reviewing, and analyzing relevant literature, datasets, and analytical and screening tools from federal, state, and local sources to advance scientific understanding of the occupational health implications of climate change, inform and guide NRDC advocacy, and support outreach and engagement with decision-makers, labor groups, and other organizations and communities.
  • Developing relationships with subject matter experts and labor representatives to aid with identification of climate-related occupational health threats, data collection and analysis, and public outreach and engagement.
  • Drafting reports and peer-reviewed publications outlining methods, findings, and recommendations based upon occupational health analyses conducted at NRDC.
  • Developing and reviewing legislative and regulatory proposals to protect workers from the health effects of climate change.
  • Responding to inquiries about the health implications of climate change on workers from NRDC program, policy, communications, and legal staff; colleague organizations; labor and health partners; and the media.
  • Qualifications

    The following qualifications are required:

  • A doctoral degree in sociology, occupational psychology, occupational safety, or a related field, and familiarity with a range of health impacts of climate change and associated literature. A candidate with a Masters degree and relevant academic and/or work experience may also be considered.
  • Familiarity with occupational health databases and their analytical uses and drawbacks.
  • Excellent quantitative, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated success working with multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Experience communicating with non-technical audiences.

  • The following qualifications are desired:

  • Expertise in interpreting and analyzing economic data.
  • Experience working with labor and/or community-based groups.
  • Experience with environmental policy analysis or advocacy.
  • Familiarity with the intersection between occupational health and disparities associated with race, ethnicity, gender, and/or socioeconomic status.
  • Media training and/or experience giving media interviews.

  • Application Process:
    Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest that addresses: (a) why the fellowship with NRDC is desired; (b) how the candidate is qualified, including relevant work and/or research experience; and (d) how the candidate hopes the fellowship will affect her/his career goals. Applicants should also submit a resume and a writing sample.
    NRDC is very committed to diversity and inclusion both in the workplace and in our advocacy. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.
    To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter through our online portal. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
    If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to Customer Care by dialing:1-800-889-4422.
    For further information about NRDC, please visit

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