The Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action had a robust crowd of over 80 health professionals for their "Kick-off Conference" on November 16th in Milwaukee. Dr. Jonathan Patz led with an update on the latest climate change predictions, followed by an inspiring account of the resources we already have to change our dependence on fossil fuels.
Next, the concept of "solastalgia" was defined and explored by eco-psychiatrist, Dr. Steve Moffic. Drs. Mark Mitchell and Andrew Lewandowski presented perspectives on climate and health equity, then all three were joined by Green Muslims' founder Huda Alkaff, Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde, and RENEW's program director Heather Allen for a thoughtful panel session on climate health equity, recognizing the vulnerability of various groups including children, the elderly, communities of color, economically disadvantaged communities, and rural farming communities.
Over a vegetarian lunch, Dr. Jon Meiman from the Department of Health Services gave an update on Wisconsin's BRACE program, introducing clinical tools, including a flood resilience scorecard. Special guest, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes addressed mitigation and adaptation in his role leading the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change.
The afternoon started with a sustainability theme. Sustainability Manager, Katie Wickman, RN from Advocate Aurora Health, outlined hospital sustainability and revealed that her organization has committed to transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Then Dr. Karin Zuegge explained the greenhouse gas potential of anesthesia gases and her research documenting the significant impact of reduction and replacement of these gases at UW Hospital.
Health professionals then engaged in a session about communicating climate change, led by Dr. Mark Mitchell, before a final recap on the future actions and networking WHPCA will help direct and coordinate. Additionally, the effort signed up about 170 new members for the launch of WHPCA.
Thank you to our Conference Sponsors
Advocate Aurora Health
Health Care Without Harm, Climate and Health Program
The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
The Medical Staff of Meriter Hospital
University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
University of Wisconsin Global Health Institute
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Health Path of Distinction
Wisconsin Environmental Health Network
For more information about WHPCA and how you can join, please email Dr. Mark Mitchell.