How the medical community must come to grasps with the imminent health threat posed by climate change

7 January, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Extracts below. Full text here: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/03/preparing-medical-students...

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Preparing Medical Students for a Warmer World

by Christian Cayon

The links between climate change and health present a compelling argument for including climate change in /medical curriculum to prepare doctors for a changing ecological landscape of disease.

The World Health Organization has called climate change “the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.” Similarly, the United Nations’ ninth Secretary-General, António Guterres, refers to climate change as “the most systemic threat to humankind.” The scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is “unequivocal” according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific and intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations.

As medical students and future medical professionals, my peers and I feel a profound responsibility to keep our future patients safe and healthy — and the links between climate change and health present a compelling argument for including climate change in medical curriculum to prepare doctors for a changing ecological landscape of disease...

At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Perry Sheffield and I are working to seamlessly integrate climate and health concepts into existing medical courses through our Climate Change Curriculum Infusion Project (CCCIP). By weaving the material into existing course lectures, rather than having a standalone “climate change module,” we can better highlight the interconnectedness of climate and health concepts with current medical school competencies while also contributing towards the sustainability of the project moving forward...

Our Climate Change Curriculum Infusion project is being refined and further developed, with our overall goal being to strengthen medical curricula to equip the next generation of physicians with the knowledge necessary to navigate a warming world and advocate for sustainable solutions to complex problems. Now more than ever, in this anti-regulatory and polluter-friendly political environment, the medical community must come to grasps with the imminent health threat posed by the uncontrolled release of greenhouse gases. And we need to make sure today’s medical students are ready for this challenge as future doctors.

Our patients, and the planet, depend on it.

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Comment (NPW): Understanding and awareness of the health impacts of climate change is important everywhere, and perhaps especially in low- and middle-income countries where the early impact will be greatest. This is a key global ethical and knowledge sharing issue, and HIFA is currently exploring possibilities to launch a new Project on Environmental and Planetary Health, which would consider information needs, myths and misconceptions at local, national and global levels, and how these needs can be more effectively addressed. In the first instance, we need to connect with existing global discussion forums, like HIFA but with a central focus on environmental health, climate change and global health. I am not aware of any. Can you recommend one or more with whom we could link?

If anyone is interested to help with co-sponsorship or technical support for the new proposed HIFA project on Environmental and Global Health, please contact me: neil@hifa.org

Meanwhile, I have invited Christian Cayon and colleagues to join us.

Many thanks, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org