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Environmental Health

Climate Change

The WSMA acknowledges that climate change is a critical public health issue. (Res B-4, A-16) (Reaffirmed A-19)

The WSMA supports policies that both reduce pollution and address the issues of climate change and that will promote healthier, sustainable communities. (Res B-4, A-16) (Reaffirmed A-19)

The WSMA acknowledges that:

  1. Climate change is a critical public health issue.
  2. Potential effects of climate change on human health include higher rates of respiratory and heat-related illness, increased prevalence of vector-borne and waterborne diseases, food and water insecurity, and malnutrition. Persons who are elderly, sick, or poor are especially vulnerable to these potential consequences.
  3. We support educating the medical community on the potential adverse public health effects of global climate change and incorporating the health implications of climate change into the spectrum of medical education, including topics such as population displacement, heat waves and drought, flooding, infectious and vector-borne diseases, and potable water supplies.
  4. We recognize the importance of physician involvement in policymaking at the state, national, and global level and support efforts to search for novel, comprehensive, and economically sensitive approaches to mitigating climate change to protect the health of the public; and recognize that whatever the etiology of global climate change, policymakers should work to reduce human contributions to such changes.
  5. We encourage physicians to adopt programs for environmental sustainability in their practices, share these concepts with their patients and their communities. and to serve as role models for promoting environmental sustainability.
  6. We encourage physicians to work with local and state health departments to strengthen the public health infrastructure to ensure that the global health effects of climate change can be anticipated and responded to more efficiently.
  7. We support epidemiological, translational, clinical and basic science research necessary for evidence-based global climate change policy decisions related to health care and treatment.

(Res B-4, A-19)

The WSMA supports legislative efforts to create a low-carbon fuel standard for Washington state that benefits communities most impacted by air pollution and climate change and support other efforts to reduce pollution from transportation. (Res B-14, A-19)


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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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