Avriel Díaz

President and Co-Founder, Walking Palms Global Health

Big Bet: Save lives by predicting the spread of climate-sensitive diseases and securing budgets for adaptation  

Project: Produce a scalable climate-informed budget forecasting system for vector borne diseases. This system will increase resiliency in health systems and improve governmental resource allocation, ultimately reducing the disease burden on vulnerable populations across Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative is being piloted in Panama with the support of the Pan American Health Organization. The project will provide government access to climate-informed budget forecasts, enabling decision makers to allocate resources more effectively and respond proactively to climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

Avriel co-founded and serves as the president of Walking Palms Global Health, an organization focused on building community resilience amidst climate and environmental disasters. She has dedicated years to forming international transdisciplinary partnerships aimed at enhancing community resilience in the face of climate change and variation across Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently situated at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science, she is actively pursuing her Ph.D. focused on Climate, Environment & Health while concurrently leading working group two Climate Adaptation for the Lancet Countdown Latin America.

Avriel’s expertise spans a spectrum of domains, including climate services development and implementation, climate-resilient health systems, disease ecology, monitoring & evaluation, communications and education, social mobilization, and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) methods. Her collaborative approach involves working closely with government entities, researchers, and communities to co-produce and co-deliver climate, environment and health initiatives, ensuring their usability by decision-makers for impactful public outcomes. Avriel holds a Bachelors of Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and two Masters from Columbia University in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology and Environmental Earth Sciences. She recently has joined the Global Council for Science and Environment as Executive Director Elect based in Washington, D.C.