Creating a ‘climate-ready’ health care workforce

With disasters related to climate change increasing, it’s crucial that the health care workforce be “climate-ready,” according to Aaron Bernstein.

“The path to a climate-ready workforce—one that can meet the challenges of hurricanes, fires, heat waves, power outages, and other threats—is advancing,” wrote Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), in a November 16, 2020 Public Health Post article. “But there’s a long way to go.”

Beyond preparing for disasters, the health care workforce needs training in order to better counsel patients on how climate can affect health, Bernstein wrote. “Because climate-related topics are rarely if ever discussed in medical and other health care training programs, providers have had to scramble to find and deliver useful guidance to patients and families about how to protect themselves,” he said.

He called for more funding to support research on climate change and health, as well as educational programming. He wrote, “With better preparation and actions that eliminate the greenhouse gases that drive climate change, we can provide for better health today, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities, and provide for a more just and sustainable future.”

Read the Public Health Post article: Weathering the workforce