Climate Change and Health Care with Drs. Caren Solomon and Renee Salas

Published

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that for one of the first times ever, the entire world is experiencing the same thing at the same time. It has given me pause to think though, isn’t this exactly what climate change has been trying to highlight all along- that climate changes affecting us all, right now, beyond neighborhood or country boundaries- the effects are communal a global scale. From fires to floods, scorching summers to endless winters, climate change contributes to spread of infectious disease, forced migration and continues to highlight the unequal effects of these hazards on the most vulnerable in society. We have come upon a time of reckoning and need a unified awareness and response. 

In this episode of Curbside Consults, I am joined by Dr. Caren Solomon- Deputy Editor at the New England Journal of Medicine, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a physician at the Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital- and Dr. Renee Salas- emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is also a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health.

0:37 – Topic introduction
1:22 – Introduction of panelists
2:17 – How did you become involved in climate change advocacy and education?
3:37 – Climate change as a “metaproblem”
5:44 – How climate change, health and racial justice thread together
7:50 – Role of physicians in climate change advocacy
10:11– How to discuss climate change with our patients…
12:15 – How to engage with climate change deniers in a productive way
16:35 – Individual action to reduce carbon footprint
19:26 – Remembering the health care and climate crisis symposium, and keeping the conversation going
21:31 – Intersection of COVID and climate crisis
22:50 – Conclusion and thanks

Resources and articles discussed in this episode:
1. The Climate Crisis and Covid-19 – A Major Threat to the Pandemic Response
2. The Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice
3. Prioritizing Health in a Changing Climate
4. Interactive Perspective: The Climate Crisis – Health and Care Delivery

The Curbside Consults series complements the foundational information in Rotation Prep by taking a deep dive into key clinical topics with expert clinicians and educators. These podcasts explore and critique the evidence behind clinical practice and break down statistical concepts for the busy clinical trainee.

 Dr. Caren Solomon is a Deputy Editor at the New England Journal of Medicine, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a physician at the Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At the Journal, she founded and edits the Clinical Practice series; handles Clinical Problem Solving cases, Interactive Medical cases, and Original Articles related to women's health; and has published on climate change and health. Dr. Solomon co-chairs the Harvard Medical School Faculty Council’s subcommittee on climate change. 

Renee N. Salas, MD, MPH, MS is an emergency medicine physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is also a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard C-CHANGE) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Affiliated Faculty and previous Burke Fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI).

Dr. Salas focuses her career on the climate crisis and health, especially on translating and applying existing knowledge to different sectors. Dr. Salas has contributed content for the Climate Crisis and Health topic page for The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), such as the Interactive Perspective, an editorial, and other Perspective articles. She serves as a Course Director for The Climate Crisis and Clinical Practice symposium in Boston, MA on February 13, 2020 and will give the opening keynote. She also served as the lead author for the 2018 and 2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief, manages the 50+ organizations that are a part of the Lancet Countdown U.S. Brief Working Group, and is a well recognized leader on this subject. Another career focus is the generation of new knowledge as she engages in research to better understand how climate change is impacting the healthcare system and how to optimize evidence-based adaptation. She lectures on climate and health nationally and internationally, has published in other high impact journals, and her work and expertise has been featured in numerous mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, NPR, Time, and the Associated Press.

Her Doctor of Medicine is from the innovative five-year medical school program to train physician-investigators at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine with a Master of Science in Clinical Research from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her Master of Public Health degree is from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a concentration in environmental health. 

Krista was a 2019-2020 editorial fellow at the New England Journal of Medicine. She is from Nassau, Bahamas where she is training in general surgery at the University of the West Indies.

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