Climate change increases the risks of many health problems, such as heat stroke and asthma.
“Despite this … my peers and I, as we sat in our first-year medical school lecture halls, we really heard no mention of this whatsoever,” says Emaline Laney, a student at the Emory University School of Medicine.
On their own time, Laney and another student studied the connections between climate change and health. And they looked for opportunities in their classes where these connections could be taught.
“We ended up really one by one going through every single lecture we ever went through throughout our medical school curriculum,” she says.
They developed a proposal to integrate climate change content into the standard course of study for first-year medical students.
For example, in a class on geriatric medicine, students could learn about the growing risk of dehydration and heat stroke for older adults. When studying infectious diseases, they could learn how warming affects the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Emory University approved their proposal. So faculty and students are now working together to make sure tomorrow’s physicians are better prepared to practice medicine in a warming world.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media