Hot Topics: Climate Change, Health Policy, and Emergency Medicine

Hot Topics: Climate Change, Health Policy, and Emergency Medicine

Feb. 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!

 

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Host

Kim Bambach, MD

Medical Education Fellow
Interim Assistant Director of the Kiehl Wellness Endowment
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Twitter: @kimbambach
EMRA*Cast Episodes

Guest

Caitlin Rublee, MD, MPH

Assistant professor of Emergency Medicine
Medical College of Wisconsin

Fellowship-trained in Climate & Health Science Policy
University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine
@CaitlinRublee

Overview 

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

Key Resources 

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. 
  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:
    • 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
  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!

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