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Jan 1, 2021

Let's discuss a few hot topics: How do rising temperatures affect emergency medicine and the health of your patients? In this episode we sit down with Dr. Caitlin Rublee to discuss bugs, drugs, plants, and people. We connect the dots to show how climate change relates to social emergency medicine and what we can do as leaders to engage in health policy and take action to protect our patients!

Key Points

  1. Climate change affects bugs, drugs, plants, and people! Rising temperatures mean increased vector-borne/zoonotic infections,  decreased efficacy of medications and patient access to medications, as well as increased potency of plant-borne illness and decreased biodiversity. Most important, it means poor health outcomes for our patients.
  2. Addressing health care equity is crucial when it comes to climate change. Vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected, and social determinants of health are front and center. 
    • Start a conversation about climate change in your program or medical school
    • Incorporate health policy education into your curriculum, research, or QI projects
    • Seek multi-disciplinary collaborators
    • Get involved with organizations within your hospital or on the national stage
  3. COVID-19 has exposed our fragile health care system. There are many steps we can take to build climate-smart, climate-resilient health systems to prepare for when disaster strikes. You can:
  4. You can talk about climate change with your patients! For example, for your patients with asthma, discuss risks stemming from pollen and air pollution. For your patients who work outside, talk about heat index and cooling measures. 
  5. You are a leader: what can you do to inspire and engage? Channel the fierce urgency of now into action!