Future doctors want to put your health at center of climate crisis

With each passing day, more and more health professionals are realizing an escalating and undeniable truth: Climate change is a medical emergency.

While the destruction of the natural environment and wildlife is devastating, health professionals on the frontlines of the climate crisis witness another kind of devastation on a daily basis: the destruction of your health and the health of your family.

As a response to this crisis, health professionals have become a leading voice in the fight for a better future. Thousands of nurses from around the country have galvanized a movement to educate colleagues and their communities on the health impacts of the climate crisis. Physicians are building a network to advance health care sustainability and to influence public policy to protect the health of their patients.

And perhaps most inspiring are our future health leaders - medical students, residents, and fellows - who refuse to “wait around” for climate action, and take it on themselves to launch campus climate initiatives, advocate for climate curriculum, and march in solidarity with the youth-led climate strikes, all while balancing the day-to-day rigors and demands of simply being a medical student.

medical studentsMedical students at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University walked out of school at noon to show solidarity with the youth climate strikers in Providence.

For this next generation of clinicians, your health is undeniably worth the challenges.

When asked what sparked an interest in environmental health and sustainable health care, one 2nd year pulmonary fellow responded, “I've come to feel that given the grave threat to human health and wellbeing that climate change represents, there is no greater issue deserving of my time as a clinician.”

This fellow is just one of many young climate and health heroes, namely medical students and physicians in training, applying for this year’s Emerging Physician Leader Award. The recipient of this award also receives a full scholarship to CleanMed, the nation’s premier event for health care sustainability, along with recognition from the nation’s top health care sustainability leaders. It’s at CleanMed where students and health professionals alike collaborate and innovate to protect their communities from the worst health impacts of the climate crisis.

Last year, thanks to generous support from donors, two incredible health leaders received the award: Dr. Hilary Ong and Dr. Emily Sbiroli. When reflecting on her time at CleanMed, Dr. Sbiroli had this to say:

“My breadth of knowledge on the subject expanded ten-fold after my attendance last year to the point where I am now known as the ‘it girl’ in my department when it comes to sustainability in health care.”

This year, with such a large and passionate candidate pool, we’re hoping to recognize four young leaders with the award and scholarship.

But we can’t do it without you.

At just over halfway to our fundraising goal of $5,000, we’re hoping you’ll help us bring it home. This is an opportunity for you to be a hero to these young heroes who are committing their lives to fighting for your health and the health of our planet. As one 3rd year medical student applicant writes:

“As a part of perhaps the last generation that can prevent runaway climate change, I feel a responsibility to advocate for this cause.”

We hope you’ll join us in being an advocate for these advocates and a champion for these champions. Through medical school, climate initiatives, and climate strikes, these medical students and physicians in training continue to show us that we are worth fighting for.

Let’s do the same for them. Give today