Keynote speaker Robin Guenther, senior advisor to Health Care Without Harm and principal at Perkins + Will, presents on health care resiliency to more than 700 attendees.
Climate resilience was a focus of the 2019 California Hospital Association Disaster Preparedness Conference in September, a direct result of the relationship between the California Health Care Climate Alliance and the hospital association. This was the first time this important issue was specifically highlighted at the annual meeting.
Keynote speaker Robin Guenther, senior advisor to Health Care Without Harm and principal at Perkins + Will, presented on health care resiliency to more than 700 attendees, focusing on why and how hospitals need to build resilience to increasingly frequent and more severe extreme weather events. Using examples from Safe Haven in the Storm: Protecting Lives and Margins with Climate-Smart Healthcare, Guenther also walked through the Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Health Care Facilities Toolkit, part of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, which she co-authored.
The California Health Care Climate Alliance also led a breakout session, moderated by Health Care Without Harm’s Robyn Rothman, on building hospital and community resilience in the face of climate change in California. Representatives from California Health Care Climate Alliance member health systems provided diverse perspectives on the issue.
Dr. Marc Futernick, Dignity Health California Hospital emergency physician and VEP Healthcare’s regional director, presented on the health impacts of climate change already experienced by patients and how health systems need to prepare for these effects. Kurt Kainsinger, UCLA Health’s director of emergency preparedness, discussed the importance of mitigation increasing resilience, as well as the need for climate risks to be larger parts of regional emergency planning discussions. And Seth Baruch, Kaiser Permanente’s national director for energy and utilities, explored how renewable energy and energy innovations like microgrids can help health care maintain operations during grid outages.
“There was enthusiastic response to both climate resilience sessions,” said Rothman. “California hospitals are interested in learning more about how to become climate-ready, mitigate the emissions from their own operations, and help their communities during severe weather events.”
About the California Health Care Climate Alliance
The California Health Care Climate Alliance is a leadership body of California health systems that are committed to protect the public from the health impacts of climate change, become anchors for resilient communities, and contribute to meeting the state’s climate goals. The Alliance was launched in collaboration with and is staffed by Health Care Without Harm.