While COVID-19 has pushed the health care sector to its limits, another public health emergency is strengthening. This time, the health sector itself is part of the problem. But now, with help from a new White House initiative, the sector can be part of the solution.
The other health emergency, of course, is the climate crisis. The latest U.N. report affirms that fossil fuel combustion is heating up the planet, causing deadly heat waves, floods, wildfires, and disease outbreaks.
The primary cause of climate change — air pollution from burning fossil fuels — is among the leading causes of illness…
I always knew I wanted to explore the intersection of health and the environment. In my first year of college, I wrote a paper on the broader health and environmental impacts of hospitals. It didn’t take long for Health Care Without Harm to turn up in my research. My undergraduate work later turned to sociology, as I advanced toward becoming a primary care physician.
Several years into my studies I discovered that resources and guidance focused on the environment and health care were difficult to come by in my program — in fact, they were hard to find anywhere. I…
James Beard Award-winning chef and best-selling author Mark Bittman’s new book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk, is a sweeping view of our food and agriculture systems, which are negatively impacting our health and the environment. Bittman details how hospitals and other institutions can help transform the market to benefit people, communities, and the planet.
Like a recent report from the Rockefeller Foundation, Bittman’s book exposes the hidden costs of unhealthy and unsustainable food. Although the United States spends around $1.1 trillion per year on food, the true cost once these impacts — rising health care costs, climate change, and biodiversity loss —…
From Pakistani children sharpening surgical scalpels in grimy workshops to debt-bonded Bangladeshi migrants manufacturing disposable gloves, forced labor has long been an insidious part of the convoluted global supply chains that provide vital medical equipment.
Now, U.S. health care giant CommonSpirit Health wants its pledge to “do no harm” to permeate its entire supply chain and ensure no workers — whether making high-tech medical devices or growing cotton for its gauze and gowns — are victims of exploitation.
“We really need to remember there is a worker whose life is impacted by the purchasing decisions we make”
— Petra Linden…
Emergency departments are overwhelmed. Patient beds are lining hallways. Hospitals are at capacity. Patient transfers are delayed due to ambulances scrambling to respond to emergency calls for help. Older adults, outdoor workers, people experiencing homelessness or living in poor housing conditions, and people with existing medical conditions need medical help the most.
This chaos was not caused by COVID-19, but a stretch of extreme, record-breaking heat in Oregon and Washington this summer.
Approximately 175 record high temperatures were set in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho between June 25 and 30, part of the hottest June on record in the…
Victor Mitry is called a “hero” because, thanks to his forethought, health care workers at University of California Los Angeles Health did not experience a shortage of isolation gowns during the pandemic. Now his innovative strategy is continuing to pay off over the long term with cost savings and environmental benefits.
by Emma Sirois
By Emma Sirois
You may have heard of the devastation happening in the Pacific Northwest due to the recent heatwave. As someone living in the area, it’s hard to ignore. On June 27, temperatures in Portland, Ore. soared to 116 F, and areas of British Columbia, Canada experienced an unfathomable high of 121 F.
“ I don’t sell plant-based, I sell delicious looking and tasting food that just happens to be plant-based.” — Dan Henroid, University of California San Francisco Medical Center
San Francisco is known for its great food. Walk a few blocks in almost any direction and you are likely to find something delicious, creative, and satisfying. In an atmosphere of such stiff competition, one might think a hospital cafe doesn’t stand a chance, but University of California San Francisco Health (UCSF Health) is defying expectations, attracting customers, and increasing sales.
UCSF Health operates three sites in San Francisco, Calif. The Department…
After concerned New Yorkers lodged thousands of complaints about the toxic fumes belched out by ambulances idling on the city’s street corners, paramedics at Northwell Health set their sights on making their emergency response vehicles more sustainable.
Their biggest challenge: How to slash the emissions that threaten community health while ensuring the high-tech life-support systems remain operational and vital drugs are stored onboard at correct temperatures.
After first developing ambulances that used solar panels and compressed natural gas, the Northwell team of drivers and EMTs opted instead for a hybrid diesel-electric system that uses ZeroRPM idle reduction technology. …
Friday, April 30th marked President Biden’s 100th day in office, a key benchmark for reflecting on a new administration’s accomplishments. The president came into office with four priorities — COVID-19, climate, race, and the economy — all determinants of health. In his first 100 days in office, President Biden has prioritized climate solutions and environmental justice that will benefit health care systems, along with their employees, patients, and communities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the resilience of our buildings and supply chains, and reducing health inequities.