ACLS 2017 Recommendations Report: Taking Up the Health Mantle

It’s here! The Recommendations Report from the 2017 American Climate Leadership Summit, “Taking Up the Mantle,” was published at the close of last year.

On October 25 and 26, our parent organization, ecoAmerica, brought together 300 diverse national leaders from across sectors and society to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. During these two days, we listened to inspiring speakers and discussions and strategized on how to expand and accelerate effective climate action and advocacy in interactive forums, working together to plan paths forward during these critical times. The Summit recognized the inspiring leadership now burgeoning nationwide, and served as a rallying point to amplify that leadership in 2018 and beyond.

This year’s Recommendations Report collects the insights of more than 40 world-class speakers, summarizes the six sessions and strategic planning forums, and lists their top recommendations moving forward — nationally, locally, and with key constituencies.

Healthcare Sector Up Front

The healthcare sector played a large role at the Summit. Dr. Lynn Goldman, Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, gave the keynote on Day 2. She focused on the health effects of record-breaking natural disasters linked to climate change.

Reflecting on Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September, Dr. Goldman noted, “We still don’t even know the full extent of the public health impact there, including death and injury rates. The health community has to step up. …Climate change is an issue that requires connecting with people on a very personal level, and that isn’t going to happen from Washington…. This is not a partisan issue — this is a health issue.”

Later, a full session focused on exploring the Health Mantle. Moderated by Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, it featured Anabell Castro Thompson, President and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Dr. V. Fan Tait, Chief Medical Officer at the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Jack Ende, President of the American College of Physicians; and Jim Whitehead, CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. 

A Path Forward

The panel was followed by a strategic forum on Health Leadership on Climate, moderated by Leyla McCurdy, Director of Climate for Health.The forum offered an opportunity to reflect on the health sector’s discussions at this Summit, our progress over the past year, and how we can build on these successes to increase capacity for action and advocacy going forward.

The forum identified the following key opportunities to accelerate health leadership on climate (edited for space):

What is needed to engage and support more health professionals in implementing climate solutions in their places of practice?

1. Create coalitions and partnerships.

2. Promote centrally located clinics and practices.

3. Distribute Green the Workplace Kits for clinics and practices. 

4. Share climate leadership case studies. 

5. Expand and offer financial incentives such as awards programs.

What is needed to activate more health professionals to advocate for climate solutions?

1. Accelerate health association leadership. 

2. Provide climate communication guidance and support. 

3. Expand climate and health education. (For an example, see this blog.)

4. Empower and activate health advocacy cohorts and champions.

5. Catalyze outreach and engagement campaign opportunities. 

6. Establish formal disease diagnosis codes for climate change related diseases.


View the Full Report!

You can download and read the complete report here.  It’s meant to be used: We’d love to hear your ideas and what you are working on! Please contact Leyla McCurdy at or Meighen Speiser at


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