Family doctors to connect global concerns due to climate change with local actions: State-of-the art and some proposals

Paolo Lauriola, Alice Serafini, Mariagrazia Santamaria, Stefano Guicciardi, Peter K. Kurotschka, Giovanni Leonardi, Ariana Zeka, Evelyn Segredo, Maria C. Bassi, Ozden Gokdemir, Francesco de Tommasi, Emanuele Vinci, Roberto Romizi, Alice McGushin, Enrique Barros, Alan Abelsohn, Samantha Pegoraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate change (CC) is the most challenging environmental health (EH) concern. Air pollution is closely linked to CC. However, many CC-health-related conditions (i.e., allergic diseases, asthma, hypertension, fluid and electrolyte disorders, child and adult obesity, type 2 diabetes, vector-borne diseases) are not usually counted, either because they do not cause death or require hospital admission/emergency triage. They are the vast majority of health care seeking generally treated by family doctors (FDs) and family pediatricians (FPs). FDs/FPs are often not aware of CC-health-impacts. Their potential role in tackling such a global challenge through their local influence on individual and collective attitudes and policies is not considered. Proper FD training could fill these gaps, raise awareness of their role, and implement EH FDs/FPs-based surveillance networks to collect, analyze, interpret, and report EH data to inform EH-related Policy. FDs and FPs, organized in sentinel physicians' networks, could play a key role in advising policymakers at the local and regional level in designing interventions adapted to climate-related issues. Such experiences are rare worldwide and not well known. We will describe and discuss them in detail to share successful local examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-223
Number of pages25
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Volume13
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • climate change
  • environmental epidemiology
  • environmental-health surveillance
  • primary health care
  • sentinel family doctors

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