Celebrating the 2020 Emerging Physician Leader award recipients

  • US & Canada

The Emerging Physician Leader award recognizes a medical student, resident, or fellow who has demonstrated a passion for sustainable health care or a commitment to climate and health leadership. The award was established in 2019 by the Health Care Without Harm Physician Network. Honorees receive scholarships to attend CleanMed, the premier conference for leaders in health care sustainability.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of CleanMed, we were unable to recognize the 2020 recipients at the event. Please join us in celebrating this year’s four award recipients – Harleen Marwah, Dr. Julia Schoen, Dr. Hari Shankar, and Natasha Sood.

“I am continually in awe of the passion and perseverance of this year’s awardees,” says Amy Collins, M.D., senior clinical advisor for Health Care Without Harm. “As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while the climate crisis continues to accelerate around us, their inspirational leadership gives me hope of a brighter future in health care and our communities.”


Harleen Marwah is a medical student at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science. She was selected for her visionary climate and health leadership and for founding and leading the successful grassroots group, Medical Students for a Sustainable Future

“Climate change has been called the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. In the face of this, I have been inspired and energized through leading Medical Students for a Sustainable Future to see the rising generation of physicians turn this threat into an opportunity to improve health and drive meaningful change,” Marwah said. “I am honored to receive this award and I am committed to using this platform to advance this important work.”


Dr. Julia Schoen is a radiology resident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She was chosen for her interest in combining her environmental engineering background with her radiology career to advance sustainable health care, along with her commitment to bringing sustainability to the radiology department. 

“My role models at Health Care Without Harm prove that collective progress toward a more sustainable health care system starts with individual actions,” said Schoen. “In this pandemic, the fragile dependence of our physical, mental, and economic well-being on the public and environmental health sectors is acutely obvious. This award is both a great honor and reminder of my obligation to help build a more resilient and environmentally conscious health care system.”


Dr. Hari Shankar is a pulmonary and critical care fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). He was selected for his determination to create an environmental movement at Penn, including an institutional commitment to climate-smart health care and climate leadership.

“I could not be more honored to receive this award,” Shankar said. “To me, it reinforces the importance of physician engagement and leadership in sustainability work, and gives me a way to meet other people who have done amazing health care sustainability work and learn from their experience.”


Natasha Sood is a medical student at Penn State College of Medicine. She was selected for the many ways she is taking action to address the climate crisis and advance sustainable health care at her institution, and for her leadership as the co-chair of the Medical Students for a Sustainable Future curriculum committee. 

“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of the Emerging Physician Leader award and am inspired by my colleagues that have united to work together for a just and sustainable future,” Sood said. “The effect the COVID-19 pandemic on communities globally has solidified the importance of prevention and preparation for large-scale crises. We must continue to build a system centered on sustainability for future generations. Through collaboration within our communities, we can work toward creating a healthy planet and equitable future for all.”