Departments of Nutrition; Environmental Health; and Global Health and Population
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Christopher Golden is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Health and Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As an ecologist and epidemiologist, his research investigates the nexus of trends in global environmental change and human health. He received his BA from Harvard College where he created his own curriculum integrating courses in ecology, medical anthropology and development studies. He then received two graduate degrees from UC Berkeley: an MPH in Epidemiology with a focus in Nutrition, and a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management focusing his studies in wildlife ecology and ecosystem services.
Since 1999, Golden has been conducting environmental and public health research in Madagascar where he created a local non-profit (501c3) research organization called MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research). In the local language, “mahery” means strength and this organization has been the sole research organization operating in Madagascar’s largest remaining tract of rainforest. This group supports 20 field staff and he has trained nearly 25 Malagasy university students in field research methods. For the last two years, he has brought small groups of Harvard undergraduates to Madagascar for the summer to get hands-on experience in planetary health research, a field dedicated to understanding the human health impacts of environmental change.
Golden is also the Associate Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, working to create a community of practice for those interested in the field across academia, NGOs and government institutes. Over the past several years, he has served as lead investigator on several research efforts: 1) the investigation of terrestrial wildlife declines in Madagascar on food security and human nutrition; 2) the investigation of climate-driven impacts of marine fishery collapses across the globe on food security and human nutrition; and 3) intervention analyses to determine solutions to wildlife harvest unsustainability and local health crises.
Golden has received sustained funding for his research cohorts in Madagascar over the last 15 years, in addition to two major research awards: 1) a $1 million grant from the Wellcome Trust to study the effects of climate change and overfishing on the global human nutrition; and 2) a $1.4 million grant from the NSF Coupled Natural and Human Systems to study the role of coral reef governance on the food security and nutrition of people in Kiribati. His research has been published seven times in Nature, Science, and PNAS.