Climate Change and Human Health

February 8, 2007
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Listen to Recording

This was a teleconference on the important topic of Climate Change that was jointly hosted by CHE, Health Care Without Harm, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

This call was moderated by Charlotte Brody, RN, Executive Director of Commonweal, along with David Wallinga, MD, MPH, Director of the Food and Health Program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, with a featured presentation from special guest Cindy Parker, MD, MPH, of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For the last seven years, Dr. Parker has been one of just a small group of physicians researching, writing and speaking about the human health impacts of climate change, and of possible roles for health professionals to begin trying to address these issues. In December 2006, she co-authored an article appearing in Environmental Health Perspectives, entitled Global Environmental Change: What Can Health Care Providers and the Environmental Health Community Do About It Now?

The article states in part: "The debate about whether global environmental change is real is now over; in its wake is the realization that it is happening more rapidly than predicted. These changes constitute a profound challenge to human health, both as a direct threat and as a promoter of other risks. We call on health care providers to inform themselves about these issues and to become agents of change in their communities."

For this call Dr. Parker's presentation will first review the latest scientific consensus on climate change and human contributions to it, and then explore the broad array of human health impacts expected or suspected—these include not only infectious disease risks, but also increased human risks from extreme weather events, from drought and water shortages, and from changes to agriculture and food systems.