Profile Précis

Bio

Ans Irfan, MD, EdD, DrPH, MPH (he/him; they/them) is a multidisciplinary global public health expert with over a decade and a half of experience as a health equity strategist, both domestically and globally. As a pracademic, he has worked across cultures, continents, and countries, including Pakistan, China, and the United States, since the early 2000s. As of 2017, he has been serving as a faculty member and researcher at George Washington University. Some of the courses that he has developed and taught over the years include Advancing Environmental Justice and Health Equity: Tools for Public Health Leaders (Co-Director/Instructor); Social Dimensions of Climate Change (Co-Instructor); Environmental & Biological Foundations of Public Health (Co-Instructor); Essentials of Public Health Practice and Leadership (Co-Instructor); Managing Organizations and Influencing Systems (Co-Instructor); Public Health Entrepreneurship (Director); and Philosophy of Religion, Public Health Practice, & Policies (Director).

 

He also serves as the founding director of the Climate & Health Equity Practice Fellowship. He is a fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars program. He also serves in various roles with major national and international organizations, including the American Public Health Association, Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science, and the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth. Some of his recent roles include serving on the advisory board with the American Public Health Association’s Center for Climate, Health & Equity; APHA Governing Council; Subject Matter Expert (systems-thinking approach to climate justice) with the Environmental Protection Agency and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the founding director of Center for Social Impact & Leadership with the DC Public Health Association. He has previously served as a fellow with the prestigious Christine Mirzayan Science Policy Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences, the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Fellowship, and a founding member and Policy Director with the DrPH Coalition, Inc.

 

As a critical public health scholar, he combines multiple disciplines — including global health; environmental and occupational health; health policy; migrant health; climate change; sociocultural anthropology; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); organizational change management; program development, management, and evaluation; and implementation sciences — through a mixed-methods approach to provide innovative interdisciplinary public policy and programmatic solutions geared towards ameliorating social and health inequities. Select recent projects include: COVID-19 & Black transit workers health; farmworkers health equity; global health implications of US foreign policy; the intersection of religion and public health; traffic wardens and climate adaptation in Pakistan; evaluation of physicians’ training on climate change and health; and social equity implications of climate innovation at the intersection of technology and climate entrepreneurship.

 

He is currently based at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, where he explores the complex intersection of religious moral philosophy, social ethics, and public health policies, focusing on conceptualizing religion as a structural determinant of health and its implications for public health and climate action. In addition, he is also affiliated with the Harvard Innovation Labs at Harvard Business School along with Harvard Climate Entrepreneurs’ Circle. He can be contacted at ansirfan@gwu.edu. Twitter: @PHScientist

 

Select Publications 

  1. Irfan, A. Public Health, Pandemics, and Intellectualization of Violence, Journal of Public Health Management & Practice. (2022)
  2. Mahoney, C., Rahman, U., Irfan, A. First, do no harm — Climate Crisis & the Role of Healthcare Professionals. COP26 Practitioner Perspective Series, Keppel Health Review. (2021)
  3. Irfan, A. Maloney, K. Pattani, T. Climate Crisis & Structural Racism — Peas in a Pod: Urgent Need for Climate Competent Care as a Structural Competency to Advance Climate Medicine. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice. (2021)
  4. Irfan, A., Martinez, D. Colonialism, the climate crisis, and the need to center Indigenous voices. Environmental Health News. (2021)
  5. Sifat, M., Chiang, S., Amin, N., Traore, S., Irfan, A., Green, K. Beyond Performative Activism- An Exploration of Motivators to Participate in Anti-Racist Activism Through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory. Harvard Public Health Review (2021)
  6. Irfan, A., St. Jean, D.T. COVID-19 & Sociocultural Determinants of Global Sanitation: An Aide-Mémoire and Call to Decolonize Global Sanitation Research & Practice. Annals of Global Health. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/aogh.3358 (2021)
  7. Irfan, A. Climate Accords: Potent Structural Determinants of Health. Climate Motifs Series, Journal of Public Health Management & Practice. http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.12479.64166 (2021)
  8. Irfan A, Slimko M, Carrasco H, Eaton T. The DrPH Coalition: advancing public health practice and leadership in the 21st Century. HPHR. 2021;35. https://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.19190.52801 (2021)  
  9. Irfan, A., Jackson, C., Arora, A. We Must Enhance—but also Decolonialize—America's Global Health Diplomacy. Policy & Ethics Section, Scientific American. (2021)
  10. Irfan, A. Galvanizing Climate Justice: Role of Neoliberalism & Capitalism in Climate Crisis. American Public Health Association National Public Health Week Blog. https://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.11640.78081 (2021)
  11. Golembeski, C., Dong, K., Irfan, A. Carceral and Climate Crises and Health Inequities: Causes and Consequences of Structural Racism and Economic Deprivation. World Medical & Health Policy. doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.382 (2021)
  12. Avila, E., Irfan, A. Book Review: Rothstein, Richard, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated Americans. New York: Liveright, 2017. pp. 368. ISBN‐13: 978‐1631492853S. World Medical & Health Policy. https://doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.415 (2021)
  13. Irfan, A. Solution to Social & Public Health Inequities? Integrating Racial Justice into Public Policies. National Science Policy Network. SciPol Bites. (2020)
  14. Golembeski, C., Irfan, A., Dong, K. Food Insecurity and Collateral Consequences of Punishment Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic. World Medical & Health Policy. doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.378 (2020)
  15. Irfan, A. Ankita, A., Jackson, C., Valencia, C., Inclusive Policymaking: Universal Principles for Equitable & Evidence-based Public Policies. Journal of Science Policy and Governance. doi.org/10.38126/JSPG170112 (2020)
  16. Sifat, M., Brown, Z. Misinformation, Health Equity, News Media: Application of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to Examine News Media’s Role in Normalizing Religious Bigotry. Harvard Public Health Review (2020)
  17. Irfan, A. Golembeski, C., Williams, J., Bieniek-Tobasco, A. National Security Risks and the American Weak Link. Think Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations (2020)
  18. Irfan, A. Golembeski, C., Bieniek-Tobasco, A. Pandemic of Racism: Public Health Implications of Political Misinformation. Harvard Public Health Review (2020)
  19. Irfan, A. Ode to Public Health Academy: Urgent Call to Reform & Go Beyond Pretty Words. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice (2020)
  20. Banks, K., Bieniek-Tobasco, A., Coles, E., Irfan, A., Mitchell, K. The COVID response is missing an obvious cadre of experts. Boston Globe (2020)
  21. Irfan, A. New country, same oppression: It’s time to bolster farmworkers’ rights. Environmental Health News — Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Series.  (2020)
  22. Golembeski, C., Irfan, A., Williams, B., Venters, H. COVID-19 Amidst Carceral Contexts: The Overton Window of Political Possibility and Policy Change. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice (2020)
  23. Brugge, D., Irfan, A. Compensation for uranium miners worldwide: The need for an assessment and action. The Extractive Industries and Society. doi:10.1016/j.exis.2019.01.011 (2019)
  24. Anenberg, S., Henze, D., Lacey, F., Irfan, A., Kinney, P., Kleiman, G., & Pillarisetti, A. Air pollution-related health and climate benefits of clean cookstove programs in Mozambique. Environmental Research Letters, 12(2), 025006. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa5557 (2017)
  25. Contributing Author: Irfan, A., Encyclopedia of Environmental Health in the 21st Century: From Air Pollution to Zoonotic Diseases. 2 Vols. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, (2017)
  26. Contributing Author: Irfan, A. et al., Changing American City and Implications for the Health and Well-Being of Vulnerable Populations. National Academy of Medicine. Doi: https://doi.org/10.31478/201710e (2017)

 

Professional & Academic Honors

2022 Climate Entrepreneurs’ Circle, Harvard Business School, Harvard University.

2021 Social Venture Impact Fellow, Harvard Innovation Labs (i-lab), Harvard University.

2021 Climate Expert, UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab — United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — United Nations. 

2021 Inaugural Member, APHA's Climate, Health, and Equity Speakers Bureau — American Public Health Association.

2021 Best of Harvard Public Health Review Distinction — Harvard Public Health Review.

2021 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Dissertation Award — Health Policy Research Scholars Program.

2021 Abstract of Distinction — Society for Prevention Research’s 2021 Annual Meeting.

2021 Inducted Member, Transatlantic Forum — French-American Foundation.

2021 Inducted Member, National Society of Leadership and Success — George Washington University.

2020 Community Change & Leadership Network Equity Award — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

2020 Agents of Change Fellow — Environmental Health News & George Washington University.

2019 Global Youth Representative — United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth.

2019 Health Policy Research Scholars Travel Award — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

2019 Emerging Leader for Climate Change and Health Equity Award — American Public Health Association.

2019 Capital Connection Fund Award — Milken Institute School of Public Health Alumni Association.

2019 U.S. Delegate — United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25), Madrid, Spain.

2018 Fellow, Health Policy Research Scholars — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

2018 DrPH Tuition Scholarship — Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.

2018 Scholarly Conference Participation Support Award — Milken Institute School of Public Health.

2018 James P. Keogh Scholarship — Occupational Health Section, American Public Health Association.

2018 Emerging Scholar Award – Climate Change Impacts and Responses Research Network.

2018 Doctoral Fellow Travel Support Program Award — Office of the Provost, Tufts University. 

2018 Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) Travel Grant — Tufts University.

2018 Massachusetts Health Policy Student Forum, Selected Participant — Tufts University. 

2018 Young Scientist Designation — UN Major Group for Children and Youth for representation at the United Nations Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC)’ 3rd Annual Multi-Stakeholder

Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals.

2017 U.S. Delegate — United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), Bonn, Germany.

2017 Environmental Justice Summit Scholarship — Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan.

2017 Tufts University DrPH Program Full Tuition and Annual Stipend Scholarship.

2017 Chair’s Award – Environmental Health Department, Milken Institute School of Public Health.

2017 Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health – George Washington University Chapter.

2016 Grand Prize D.C. Public Health Case Challenge — The National Academy of Medicine.

2016 James M. Wordsworth Scholarship - The National Capital Area Environmental Health Association.

2016 Climate for Health Learning Institute Scholarship — ecoAmerica & American Public Health Association.

2016 "Strength, Courage, & Wisdom"​ Award - ISCOPES, George Washington University.

2016 Shenkman Career Services Award - George Washington University.

2015 Fellow, Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH) — Royal Society for Public Health, UK.

2014 Golden Key International Honor Society, Inducted Member.

2012 Dean’s Letter High Pass Distinction — Xinjiang Medical University.