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AMA urges clinician involvement in climate change issues

Climate Change and EnergyLydia SullivanComment

The American Medical Association (AMA) urged doctors and health professionals to become more involved in issues of climate change and health. The December issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics is devoted to the topic. Journal editors outlined the connection between increasing health risks and increases in climate change, including "extreme weather events, rising temperatures, food insecurity, and the predicted spread of waterborne diseases, among other consequences" that can potentially "displace communities and increase associated morbidity and mortality around the globe."

Articles emphasized the strong role the health community can play in influencing public opinion and potentially mitigating climate change risks to vulnerable communities. 

"Voices from health professions communities can help motivate social change. The health of our nation and the world makes discussion of the health impacts of climate change imperative for health professionals," the editors wrote.

"Advocacy can take many forms, ranging from public or political efforts to one-on-one efforts to change the life of a patient, and clinicians are well positioned to engage in these efforts."

Articles include "Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health: The Role of the Medical Community," "The Importance of Physician Climate Advocacy in the Face of Political Denial," and "How Should Clinicians Weigh the Benefits and Harms of Discussing Politicized Topics that Influence Their Individual Patients’ Health?" as well as "The AMA Code of Medical Ethics’ Opinions Related to Climate Change."

Read the AMA Journal of Ethics December issue.

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