Date Published: 10 November 2008
AMA goes green: Recognizes negative health effects of global climate change
Today the American Medical Association (AMA) passed new policies at its semi-annual policy-making meeting aimed at educating the medical community on the adverse health effects of global climate change, and encouraged physicians to become role models for their patients and communities by utilizing environmentally friendly practices and promoting resource conservation.
“The scientific evidence is clear that global climate change can carry serious health implications,” said AMA Board Member William Hazel, M.D. “Extreme weather and temperature changes can lead to several negative health effects, like heat-related illnesses, increases in infectious and vector-bourne diseases and a multitude of respiratory problems. By educating physicians and other medical professionals on the negative health effects that global climate change can bring, we can be better prepared to provide patients with the best possible care.”
Another new AMA policy encourages physicians to take a stronger role in promoting environmentally sustainable practices in their communities, and identifies areas in the health care industry where improvements can be made, such as responsible waste management and the use of sustainable products.
“Physicians can be leaders for their communities and encourage environmentally friendly changes to how we go about our daily lives and use natural resources to benefit the planet and our health,” said Dr. Hazel.
In addition to the above, the new AMA policies:
* Support the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
report, which states that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change
and that these changes will negatively effect public health.
* Recognize the importance of physician involvement in policymaking at state, national and global levels, and supports efforts to search for novel, comprehensive approaches to mitigating climate change to protect the health of the public.
* Encourage physicians to work with local and state health departments to ensure that the global health effects of climate change can be anticipated and responded to more efficiently, and that the AMA’s Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response assist in this effort.
* Support educating the medical community on the potential adverse public health effects of global climate change, including topics such as population displacement, flooding, infectious and vector-borne diseases, and healthy water supplies.
Source: American Medical Association (AMA).