Lancet Planetary Health: Views of health professionals on climate change and health: a multinational survey study

7 May, 2021

'A growing body of evidence suggests that providing people with information about the health harms of climate change, as well as solutions to address them, can increase public support for the actions needed to reduce emissions.' This Viewpoint paper underlines the importance of reliable information.

CITATION: Views of health professionals on climate change and health: a multinational survey study

John Kotcher et al. Open Access

Lancet Planetary Health 2021

Published: April 07, 2021

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00053-X

SUMMARY

Climate change arguably represents one of the greatest global health threats of our time. Health professionals can advocate for global efforts to reduce emissions and protect people from climate change; however, evidence of their willingness to do so remains scarce. In this Viewpoint, we report findings from a large, multinational survey of health professionals (n=4654) that examined their views of climate change as a human health issue. Consistent with previous research, participants in this survey largely understood that climate change is happening and is caused by humans, viewed climate change as an important and growing cause of health harm in their country, and felt a responsibility to educate the public and policymakers about the problem. Despite their high levels of commitment to engaging in education and advocacy on the issue, many survey participants indicated that a range of personal, professional, and societal barriers impede them from doing so, with time constraints being the most widely reported barrier. However, participants say various resources — continuing professional education, communication training, patient education materials, policy statements, action alerts, and guidance on how to make health-care workplaces sustainable — can help to address those barriers. We offer recommendations on how to strengthen and support health professional education and advocacy activities to address the human health challenges of climate change.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org