Health Affairs Journal devotes December Issue to Health and Climate
by Ira Dreyfuss, Public Affairs Advisor
Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health
To reduce the health harms of the climate crisis and build a healthier planet, we need major changes in US health policy. That’s why it’s such good news that the nation’s premier health policy journal, Health Affairs, devotes its entire December issue to the topic of health and the climate.
Health Affairs’ readership includes national policy leaders on public health, so when the journal treats the crisis with such gravity, the publication marks a milestone in the climate, health and equity movement and will spur action, which is exactly what the journal calls for. A publisher’s message drives the point home with the headline “Climate Change is Our Reality; Now Is The Time to Solve It.” As part of a growing movement, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Health (Consortium) is glad to see that journal showcase several articles authored by physicians affiliated with the Consortium and our many partners.
That’s the approach we want at the Consortium, so it’s fitting that several articles were authored by physicians affiliated with the Consortium and that other physicians highlighted in our Champions profiles are featured prominently.
The articles arm policymakers with knowledge they need to move forward with climate solutions that can build back better from our current Covid-19 health and economic crisis by organizing our response to climate change around the equitable protection and promotion of health. For instance, one article offers recommendations on how to incorporate climate-focused decision-making into health care decision-making and policy. Other articles look at how to deal with the crisis’s devastating impacts on the poor and minorities, with one reporting on an initiative to help Native American tribes use their own data and traditional practices in adapting to climate change.
This Health Affairs edition offers an evidence-based approach to policies that will address this great public health challenge. As the articles make clear, climate solutions are health solutions. That’s the kind of good news that can help us look forward with more hope. And it is hope that will help impel us toward the ambitious solutions we need to create a safer, healthier future. We applaud Health Affairs for publishing this important document. We commend its readers to take the articles’ lessons to heart, and act on them.