Edward W. Maibach, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Director of the Center for Climate Change Communication
University Professor in the Department of Communication
George Mason University
Email: emaibach@gmu.edu Discipline: Public Health, Communications Expertise: Public Health Strategies, Media and Health, Health Communication, Public Opinion, Climate Change

Investigator Award
Mobilizing Citizen Support for Climate Stabilization and Adaptation Policies
Award Year: 2008 Climate change poses a potentially significant threat to the public's health, and addressing it is among President Obama's top priorities. Co-PIs Edward W. Maibach, Ph.D., M.P.H. and Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. believe that citizens and stakeholders need to play an active role in formulating effective public policies and investments in greenhouse gas reduction. Their project, Mobilizing Citizen Support for Climate Stabilization and Adaptation Policies, investigates how best to engage Americans on climate control issues and analyzes the extent to which a health perspective can enlist community interest and participation. Through surveys and interviews, Drs. Maibach and Nisbet explore people's beliefs and motivations and test their reactions to various policy proposals and messages about climate change and its health implications. Their research findings could help galvanize the public health community and provide policy experts, government agencies, journalists, and other stakeholders with practical guidance on how best to increase public understanding of the implications of climate change.

Background

Ed Maibach is a university professor of communication and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. Previously he has served as worldwide director of social marketing for Porter Novelli, associate director of the National Cancer Institute, and board chair for Kidsave International, and has been a professor of public health at Emory University and George Washington University. He holds a Ph.D. in communication from Stanford and an M.P.H. from San Diego State University. Dr. Maibach's empirical research focuses on how to mobilize populations to adopt behaviors and support public policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities successfully adapt to unavoidable consequences of climate change. With colleagues at Yale and George Mason, he developed a unique web-based audience research platform to study people's global warming beliefs, behaviors and policy preferences, and to test their responses to new information, products and proposed policies. An audience segmentation study conducted with this research platform - Global Warming's Six Americas 2009 - serves as the basis of his RWJF-funded research on framing climate change as a threat to human health. Dr. Maibach teaches courses on social marketing, strategic communication, and climate change communication campaigns. He devotes considerable volunteer time to climate change public engagement projects in the Washington, DC area, the mid-Atlantic region, and with national NGOs.