Why Climate Change Matters for People with Chronic Conditions

  • Event Date: Dec. 07, 2022
  • Event Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
  • Event Location: 

The NHC hosted a webinar to discuss the health impacts of climate change for people with chronic diseases and disabilities and their family caregivers. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


Laura Kate Bender, National Assistant Vice President, Healthy Air at American Lung Association

Laura Kate has spent more than a decade working for protections from air pollution and climate change. She currently serves as National Assistant Vice President, Healthy Air at the American Lung Association, where she leads the Healthy Air Campaign, directing advocacy initiatives in Washington, DC; field staff working at the state level; and coordination of a broad group of national public health and medical organizations. She previously served as the campaign’s lead representative to Congress, advocating for limits on outdoor air pollution to protect public health. Prior to that, she worked in Virginia to implement the Healthy Air Campaign on the state level. She also served on the board of the Virginia Asthma Coalition. Prior to joining the Lung Association, Laura Kate worked as an organizer on clean air issues for Environment America. Laura Kate studied political science and communications at American University in Washington, DC. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband and two children.

Caren Heller, MD, MBA, Chief Scientific Officer, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Dr. Heller received her medical degree from Columbia University and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Chicago. She has extensive professional experience within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and academic medical centers.  As the Chief Scientific Officer at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Dr. Heller is responsible for all mission-related activities, including the research efforts and patient and provider support and education programs. 

She previously worked for Weill Cornell Medical College, where she was Associate Dean of Intercampus and Industry Initiatives. In that role, Dr. Heller implemented plans to promote interdisciplinary collaborations between the medical school and Cornell University faculties, facilitated the development of an NIH-funded intercampus 

center, promoted collaborative research projects with industry partners, and managed the intercampus pilot grant program. Prior to Weill Cornell Medical College, she was at Athena Healthcare Consulting, working with industry and academic centers regarding new product opportunities, new drug development, and clinical and translational research. While there, she developed Models of Care, a health care information series that identified and described best practices in disease management.

In addition, Dr. Heller has experience in pharmaceutical drug development, including design and implementation of clinical development plans and involvement in new drug applications resulting in drug approvals. She has been published in more than 20 publications and is the recipient of the “Best Journal Article on Disease Management” honor.