June 8, 2021
On May 31, 2021, Ambereen Shaffie gave a radio interview with Dr. Hussain Haideri, a nephrologist practicing in Dallas, regarding the health impacts of climate change. The primary audience of listeners is medical practitioners. The interview can be heard here.
During the interview, Dr. Haideri highlighted the import of didactic attention given to climate in medical schools and how doctors are reacting to climate change. Ms. Shaffie discussed teaching at the Climate Medicine 8010 course at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in February 2021. As such courses increase in proliferation, climate policy is also fast becoming a central theme of the entire healthcare field.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the link between human health and climate into sharp focus. Climate change exacerbates disease vectors, pandemics, and a host of other health-related issues including lung disease, heat stroke, and heart disease.
During the interview, Ms. Shaffie pointed out how physicians can make a difference in the fight against climate change. While physicians may not realize it, decisions are in effect being made in their name every day. The more involved a physician is in her own hospital or institution, the more influence she can exercise over that hospital's climate policies. Moreover, a physician is in the best position to know his patient's reactions to climate change, from wildfires to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Becoming more involved with a hospital board's decisions is a relatively easy step a physician can take to address climate change.
The book Global Climate Change and Human Health (Wiley, 2021), also considers how practitioners may positively affect health policy at local hospitals, such as greening hospital buildings, reducing energy emissions, procuring environmentally-friendly products, and planting rooftop gardens. Ms. Shaffie's chapter in this book explores these concepts in detail.
Climate and health practitioners interested in further knowledge can read Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, available here.