People expect doctors to be experts on cancer, broken bones, and the flu. But now, many physicians are addressing the health effects of global warming, too.

Air pollution and extreme heat can cause illness or even death, and both are becoming more common as the climate warms. Elena Rios is president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association. She says these issues hit Latino communities particularly hard.

Because Hispanic children are more likely to live in polluted neighborhoods, they are more than twice as likely to die from asthma than non-Hispanic white children. And because of the type of jobs they have, Latinos are three times more likely to die at work from heat-related illness.

Rios says doctors can help educate their patients about the risks.

Rios: “That’s one role they have, you know, preventive education. The other role is, as leaders in their communities. They can get involved in their hospital health campaigns or other civic activities.”

And Rios says the National Hispanic Medical Association helps educate policy makers.

From doctor’s offices to the halls of congress, Hispanic doctors are educating people about the health impacts of climate change in their communities.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Eileen Mignoni

Eileen Mignoni

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...