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Physicians Speak Out on Climate Change & Health

January 31, 2017

Climate change is being heralded as one of the greatest public health threats of the 21st century. It is however, also on of our greatest opportunities for health—and health equity. Health providers are critical and trusted voices in this conversation about health impacts of climate change and solutions, particularly for low income communities and communities of color. That is why PHI’s Center for Climate Change and Health has partnered with the California Medical Association Foundation and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) to build capacity and leverage the health provider voice on climate change and health in order to create a world of “healthy people, healthy places, healthy planet.”

As part of the Climate Change Champions Project, The Center provides education and support to physicians to speak up and take action on the health impacts of climate change in their clinical settings, local communities and across the State of California. Physician champions engage in community and professional presentations, media advocacy (including print, radio and television pieces) and legislative advocacy on a wide variety of climate change and health topics.

To date, climate champions have successfully placed a number of news pieces in national and state-level publications, as well as ethnic media outlets:

"Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to protect all people--especially vulnerable populations working outdoors--from the heat-related impacts of climate change."
Climate change: dire effects on kidney health, Philippine News
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"Every time local and state policymakers decide wheter to allow the extraction, processing, transport or shipment of fossil fuels for use abroad, they must consider the climate change implications, both abroad and at home."
Oakland rejects coal terminal, sets example on climate change, Sacramento Bee 
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"today, we face a double threat: climate change increases the severity of existing health issues and introduces new ones. If we want to protect our patients and keep a lid on health care costs, climate action is a medical necessity now."
Climate change is making us sick, San Diego Union Tribune
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"It is up to our leadership to ensure those most vulnerable among us are not forced to bear the brunt of climate change or air pollution."
Unhealthy air, unhealthy lungs, unhealthy communities,
India Post
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"The health burdens of climate change are disproportionately borne by low-income communities of color, the same groups that often depend on healthcare safety net programs. As those burdens grow, safety net programs are more important than ever."
Climate change raises the stakes for affordable health care coverage,
The Hill
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The op-eds are also available here:


Related resources

The Center has also created A Physician’s Guide to Climate Change, Health and Equity as well as a series of Climate and Health Posters. The Guide explains the complex and multifaceted connections between climate change and health, explores disproportionate burdens and the impacts on health equity, and provides opportunities for action. Physicians champions use this resource to work for climate and health solutions through media and policy advocacy, community and professional education presentations and policy resolutions. The posters provide crucial climate and health education to patients and communities in a way that is clear and easy to understand.