Climate Impacts on Worker Health & Safety Center

Keeping workers and their communities safe, healthy, and productive in the midst of changing work environments.

The Climate Impacts on Worker Health & Safety (CIWHS) Center is an interdisciplinary group of researchers and public health practitioners whose mission is to play a proactive role in identifying and promoting climate-resilient workplaces, workforces, and communities. We are dedicated to keeping workers and their families safe, healthy, and productive by preventing and reducing health impacts from the effects of changing work environments and exposures.

This center emphasizes research and educational opportunities that gather passionate individuals eager to make change in this field. Stay tuned for details on our 2024 symposium.

The team

Kathy James

Katherine James PhD, MS, MSPH

Associate Professor, Director
  • Center for Health, Work & Environment
  • Community Epidemiology & Program Evaluation
  • Department of Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Department of Epidemiology

Dr. James is an engineer and epidemiologist specializing in environmental and climate systems health effects of metals in the San Luis Valley and other areas of the Mountain West. She heads a large R01 study on the impact of drought on arsenic exposure and cardiometabolic outcomes in a rural aging population, alongside projects focusing on cadmium exposure, chronic kidney disease, and maternal arsenic exposure and adverse birth outcomes. Dr. James leads the MEMCARE Community Engagement Core, implementing interventions to reduce metal exposure in pediatric populations. With extensive experience in community-based human studies and a network she is actively involved in transdisciplinary research on the health effects of environmental heavy metal exposures, climate health and resilience. Currently spearheading multiple community-engaged research endeavors, including a NIH funded project on drought's impact on metals in drinking water and its cardiovascular consequences, her work emphasizes sustainable community engagement for climate health research and equity in rural and urban communities through initiatives like the Mountain West ACE-CH Hub.

Areas of Expertise

  • Climate Health
  • Metals Toxicity
  • Rural Health
  • Worker Exposure Assessment
  • Mentoring students

Education, Licensure & Certifications

  • PhD University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Epidemiology, 2010
  • MS University of Colorado, Boulder, Civil/Environmental Engineering, 2002
  • MSPH University of Colorado, Health Sciences Center, Public Health, 2000
  • BS Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Biological Systems Engineering, 1996


  • 2022: Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Colorado School of Public Health
  • 2022: Selected for the Climate Change, Health Equity, and Public Health Law Learning and Practice Collaborative
  • 2021: Alpha Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Omega National Honorary Society in Public Health
  • 2021: Selected Climate for Health Ambassadors Community, EcoAmerica
  • 2019: Selected for the NIH/NSF sponsored Data Innovation Lab on Environmental Health in Rural Populations
  • 2018: Dean’s International Travel Award Colorado School of Public Health
  • 2013: Selected for the Early Career Women in Medicine Leadership Conference July 2013
  • 2012: Faculty Development Award Children’s Environmental Health Center, National Jewish Hospital
  • 2011: American Academy of Neurology Conference, Selected as a top abstract for presentation by the scientific chair, Dr. Stefan Pulst, in the “Scientific Program Highlights Plenary Session”.
  • 2000: Awarded Travel Scholarship Royal Society Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to travel to the Republic of Mauritius for environmental research and training.
  • 1998: Dennis Burkitt Fellowship, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


  • Member, International Society of Environmental Epidemiologists
  • Member, Society of Toxicology
  • Member, International Society of Exposure Science
  • Member, CU Climate Consortium



Climate and worker health class, runs in the Spring.

Capstone & practicum

Stay tuned for more details on these projects.

PhD candidates

The Climate & Worker Health Targeted Research Training (TRT) program supports future leaders in the field of climate and workforce health by receiving high-quality education and research training in addressing the short- and long-term impacts of climate change on occupational health. Trainees in this program will join a forward-thinking faculty and student cohort to address one of the most urgent challenges we face today in public health. 

Learn more & apply.


Center for Health, Work & Environment

Colorado School of Public Health

CU Anschutz

Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place

Suite W3111

Mail Stop B119

Aurora, CO 80045

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