Medical School Students Tackle Environmental Problems From Doctors’ Perspectives – Harvard Gazette

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Bernstein said the healthcare industry itself accounts for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and HMS has a moral obligation to clean up its own home. Part of this is teaching medical students and practicing clinicians about the dangers of climate change. For example, extreme storms, such as Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, can cripple healthcare.

“Hurricane Maria destroyed an IV bag factory in Puerto Rico. This loss of a factory, combined with a series of unfortunate coincidental events, left every Boston hospital I knew of from rationing fluids and IV drugs, ”he said.

Panelist Gina McCarthy, director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Chan School and former administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, asked how the medical community can prepare for emergencies without addressing themselves to climate change.

“Use the science created by this university to make a direct connection between the great things you can do for the climate [to] the great things you can do for public health, ”she said. “It’s really about whether people will be able to live on this changing planet.”

Kazi said the consequences for human health are particularly felt among the most vulnerable populations around the world, including the United States. The medical community must communicate and resolve these critical issues with patients and world leaders, he said.

“We bear witness to the joys and sufferings of life,” Kazi said. “The questions are being asked right now by medical providers across the country and the world, and we hope this discussion will help all of us use our voices to their fullest potential.”


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