Prof. Gina McCarthy

Gina is former EPA administrator and director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) and professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

2019 Religion, Science and Ecology Conference 

Gina McCarthy Biography

Gina McCarthy has dedicated her 35-year career in public service to environmental protection and public health. Her leadership and perseverance has led to federal, state, and local actions on critical environmental issues, and her significant accomplishments include action to advance environmental, clean energy, public transportation and public health goals consistent with a growing economy in New England and across the United States.

Public Health and the Environment

From 2013 – 2017, McCarthy served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama. As Administrator, McCarthy was the nation’s leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. Willing to take bold action, Administrator McCarthy achieved notable success by finalizing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) which set the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for fossil-fuel fired power plants. The CPP demonstrated the United States strong commitment to climate action, sparking broad international support for adoption of the Paris ClimateAgreement. Under her leadership, EPA also finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect rivers and streams that 117 million American s rely on for their source of drinking water.

Prior to her role as EPA Administrator, McCarthy held the position of Assistant Administrator in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, where she began an initiative called “No Child Left Inside” to introduce families to the natural world by visiting state parks, and she helped design and implement the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for power plants. She has also held senior positions in Massachusetts, serving five governors, including Deputy Secretary of the Office of Commonwealth Development and Undersecretary for Policy for the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

Work in Academia

Since leaving the Obama Administration, McCarthy served as a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics and as the Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and joined Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm, where she serves as an operating advisor focused on sustainability and wellness investments. Recently, McCarthy was appointed a Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and granted a joint appointment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. McCarthy has also taken on the role of Director of Harvard T.H. Chan’s new Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) where she is leading the School’s efforts to turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity to use science to motivate actions that improve public health today while moving towards a more sustainable future.


She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering, Planning and Policy from Tuft’s University.


A native of Massachusetts, McCarthy lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband and spends as much time as she can with her three children Daniel, Maggie, and Julie.