Team Leader, Editor, and Senior Writer
Liz Willetts is the inaugural Policy Director at the Planetary Health Alliance. She was appointed as Visiting Scholar at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2023. She is also a Newsdesk writer for The Lancet - Planetary Health.
As a member of IISD’s ENB team since 2009, Liz has accumulated diverse experience across a range of multilateral environmental agreements and events, including on climate change (UNFCCC), biodiversity (CBD, IPBES, ITPGRFA, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety), food security, (UN Committee on World Food Security), chemicals and waste pollution (SAICM, Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm conventions), water (UN-Water, Budapest Water Summit), and sustainable development (Commission on Sustainable Development, High Level Political Forum). She closely follows the work of the WHO and other health actors on environmental issues and on health equity and the social determinants of health in these settings.
As a clinician, Liz has served long-term roles in resource poor primary care medical clinics, on a remote island in Micronesia, at a bilingual Spanish clinic in Harvard–Brigham & Women’s Hospital system, and in an Indigenous hospital in Central America.
In the past, Liz has been a consultant for a range of organizations working at the intersection of environment and health, including the WHO and UN ESCAP. She previously worked for IUCN and the Union of Concerned Scientists on environmental policy issues, and for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships where she designed nutrition and food education programs in Philadelphia public schools.
She has degrees in biology (University of Pennsylvania), environmental economics and policy (Duke University), and medicine (Emory University). Her master’s thesis explored payments for water ecosystem services in Rwanda. Publications for IISD include COVID-19 and Planetary Health: How a Pandemic Could Pave the Way for a Green Recovery (in the Still Only One Earth policy brief series), Health in the Global Environmental Agenda: A policy guide, and Operationalizing the Health-Environment Nexus in Asia and the Pacific.