In its 2015 report, the UCL-Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change stated that climate change poses an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health. The threats to health are myriad, ranging from heat-related morbidity/mortality, to increases in vector-borne diseases, to the impact of worsening air quality on respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Nutrition suffers due to impacts on agriculture, and climate refugees face innumerable threats to their health and well-being. Yet by and large, the health sector has played a limited role in addressing climate change.
This reticence has begun to shift, however, with major health professional organizations, hospital systems, patient organizations, and individual health professionals in the US and around the world getting involved, driven by a growing recognition of the urgency and magnitude of the climate change threat to health. At the Global Climate and Health Alliance, Jeni Miller works directly with many such organizations and individuals. In this presentation, Dr. Miller will talk about the challenges for the health sector of entering into this arena, and the power of the health voice in advocating for climate action. She will conclude by discussing the global health-sector-led campaign on air pollution, climate and health that launches next month, led by GCHA and its partners around the world.
Jeni Miller is Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, where she coordinates the joint efforts of national, regional and global health NGOs addressing climate change. The Alliance works to minimize the health impacts of climate change and to maximize the health co-benefits of climate strategies, through leadership, advocacy, policy, research, and engagement. Dr. Miller has over fifteen years experience working on place-based, policy- and systems-change initiatives to improve community environments for health and reduce non-communicable diseases. Miller received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.