African-American Physicians Already Seeing Health Impacts Of Climate Change


Climate change has serious consequences for human health - worldwide and in the United States. The health chapter of the 2014 National Climate Assessment concludes that there will be wide ranging health impacts from climate change in the United States, some of which are already happening, and that the people most vulnerable to these heath harms include children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color.


Today, we are pleased to release the results of a survey of African-American physicians we recently conducted in association with the National Medical Association. In short, we found that African American physicians around the country are concerned about the health consequences of climate change on their patients, and want to see the medical community get more involved in responding to the problem. Nearly nine out of ten (88%) of the physicians surveyed said that climate change is relevant to patient care, and nearly two-thirds (61%) indicated they believe that some of their own patients are already being harmed moderately or a great deal. The most common health effects of climate change that survey respondents have observed in their patients are injuries from extreme weather events, such as floods, fires, and major snow storms (88%), and increases in the severity of chronic illnesses due to air pollution (87%).


A copy of the full report from this survey can be downloaded here.



This project was conducted under the leadership of Mona Sarfaty, MD, who joined 4C in 2013 to develop our Program on Climate and Health. You can expect to see more of Dr. Sarfaty's excellent work soon.