Advancing Health Equity Through Climate-Smart Changes: Health Care's Call to Action
BY LLOYD H. DEAN
CEO of CommonSpirit Health
We are living in a pivotal moment. This new decade has been characterized by tragedy and tension, from the global pandemic to nationwide social upheaval. At the same time, our collective experience has taught us lessons sure to spark critically needed change for years to come. Among the issues justly elevated in our political and public health discourse is health equity, or the inherent right we all have to reach our full health potential, regardless of our social status or circumstances.
As we move forward, ministering to our communities effectively means being part of the effort to eliminate health disparities that persist along racial, ethnic and economic lines. This will require recognizing the inextricable link between health inequities and climate change — and examining our role as health care providers in addressing both.
We are providing health care from a faith-based tradition, and, on a fundamental level, we must appreciate our planet — our home — as a gift bestowed upon us. Caring for Earth is part of caring for the people who live here. Among the measures we can take to improve health equity: we can use our resources wisely, act as stewards for environmental justice and make health care a force for healing and regeneration.
By taking steps to address climate change, we can serve not only those who come to us for care, but also those in our communities and all who are part of the fragile ecosystem of our shared home.
Read full article in Health Progress, Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.