MGH Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice and Health explains how climate change affects human health

While it’s common knowledge that climate change is damaging the planet’s health, it’s not as well known how climate change is affecting human health in a variety of areas, including respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular illness, heat stress and more.

The Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health is the first school of nursing-led center that focuses on the health effects of climate change in the United States, according to the center’s director, Patrice Nicholas. The center operates as a part of the MGH Institute of Health Professionals. The impact of climate change is woven throughout the curriculum, starting with the history of nursing, through clinical practices so students can distinguish when climate change is a factor in someone’s illness. 

While the center focuses on the intersection of climate change and health, the educators at the center make sure to show who is most affected by climate change.“Those who least contribute to greenhouse gas emissions are those disproportionately affected by the negative outcomes,” said Nicholas.

Redlining has been a major factor in climate change-related health issues. For example, people who have been forced to live near incinerators or trash dumps are more likely to deal with worse health consequences. One of the center’s goals is to make more people aware of how climate change affects their health, so people can take steps to try and protect themselves. 

“Patient education is absolutely critical because many of the health consequences of climate change can be averted if patients, families and communities are educated about what they are,” said Nicholas.

This video is a part of a climate justice series produced in Jody Santos’ course “Video News Reporting and Producing” at Northeastern University. Over the course of the semester, students will be producing news packages addressing climate and transit justice within Greater Boston.


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