Sponsored by Sutter Health

Affiliated with
University of California, San Francisco

Excellence Integrity Relationship


Joel Charles, M.D., M.P.H.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health; Joel grew up the son of a carpenter and community-organizer in a surprisingly diverse neighborhood of Green Bay, WI. He learned to love nature in the land of John Muir’s childhood, fishing and camping with his father. He learned service from his mother, watching her advocate for their underserved neighborhood of southeast Asian refugees. After undergrad he traveled to a subsistence farming community in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he promoted the cultivation of amaranth and catalyzed the creation of a library. He spent the next year as a coordinator with Habitat for Humanity in the Mississippi Delta, improving the energy efficiency of future homes and absorbing the blues. He met his partner Phoebe in medical school, and she enriches his life greatly. During that period completed his Masters of Public Health focusing on the health impacts of climate change. He catalyzed the founding of two chapters of Citizens Climate Lobby and trained climate activists in climate health messaging. He began recruiting and training a large network of health professionals to advocate for climate policy. He plans to expand this network into California. His professional interests within family medicine include behavioral health, motivational interviewing, environmental health advocacy, and asset-based community development. He refills his cup by biking, backpacking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, reading, meditating, listening to music, and savoring meals with family and friends.

Alumni Year: 2017