‘An Urgent Public Health Challenge’ – APHA Meeting Emphasizes Climate Change

APHA climate change/health infographic. Click to enlarge.

The theme of this year’s American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting in Atlanta is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health.” The meeting is estimated to have drawn 12,000 attendees. Below are highlights so far.

Threats and opportunities.

Monday night, Howard Frumkin, DrPH, MPH, MD, of the University of Washington, called climate change “one of the most pressing public health issues we face.” In discussing the recently released Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change 2017 Report: U.S. Briefing, a joint publication of the Lancet and APHA that highlights the threats and opportunities climate change poses to Americans, Frumkin identified some key findings:

  • Exposure to dangerous heat and severe weather events is increasing.
  • Exposure to disease and allergies is changing (one example: allergy seasons are often prolonged).
  • The carbon intensity of U.S. energy use is decreasing, but this process must be accelerated to reduce climate-related health risks.

Nurse voices in environmental health.

During a session called “Public Health Nursing Research—Climate, Health, and Vulnerable Populations,” Linda A. McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Emory University, highlighted the vital role nurses play both in producing research findings about environmental hazards and human health and in translating these into practice.

“Nurses can go to the science and take it back to the community. That’s what we’re so good at.”

But when it comes to speaking out about environmental issues and nursing research, she observed, “I don’t think […]

Earth Day 2017: An Important Role for Nurses

By Barbara Polivka, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and Shirley B. Powers Endowed Chair in Nursing Research, University of Louisville, Kentucky

“… the symptoms or the sufferings generally considered to be inevitable and incident to the disease are very often not symptoms of the disease at all, but of something quite different—of the want of fresh air, or of light, or of warmth, or of quiet, or of cleanliness…”  -Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not (1859).


crocus shoots, early spring / Wikimedia Commons

As we celebrate the 46th Earth Day, it’s good to look back.

  • Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in on April 22nd, 1970.
  • The first Earth Day celebration helped spur the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act.
  • Earth Day became an international celebration in 1971 when the UN Secretary General talked about it at a Peace Bell Ceremony in New York City.

A time to think about how we affect the environment and are affected by the environment.

Health Care Without Harm (https://noharm.org/) is an international organization promoting environmental health and justice. If you aren’t familiar with Health Care Without Harm I urge you to go to their website to see how health care organizations are decreasing their environmental impact. Health care facilities are:

2017-04-21T08:26:16+00:00 April 21st, 2017|environmental health, Nursing, Public health|0 Comments