Great news at the state level in the Commonwealth of Virginia: Changes are taking place in state government to address Climate.
After a series of recent Town Hall meetings held across the state, the Governor issued an order for the state’s agencies to address impacts of Climate Change. Testimony from Virginians, support from Environmental Health groups like the Virginia Environmental Health Association (VEHA) with my participation, Public Health, academia, business representatives, medical professionals, students, and others raised ‘Climate & Health’ as a top issue during these conversations. Presently, all departments within state government are moving ahead with actions to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.
The Virginia Department of Health is leading the way in this effort. The Department held a state-wide summit and has developed an action plan which lists Severe Weather, Sea-level Rise, and Extreme Heat episodes as priority areas for immediate (and long-range) intervention.
At the end of last year, a special workshop which I helped to organize, was conducted for the SW Virginia region involving physicians, nurses, public health, and other healthcare practitioners. It was jointly sponsored by a local hospital and the state-wide coalition of Physicians for Climate Action. As I noted, other key partners in this effort included myself, Environmental/Public Health, the State Health Department, and area universities.
I am working on plans for our “next steps” which include a statewide conclave for environmental practitioners sponsored by the Virginia Environmental Health Association (VEHA), as well as engaging all local health departments in a coordinated approach to addressing climate impacts.
Leon F. Vinci, DHA, DAAS, RS is a long-time member of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and an active member of their Climate Change Committee. He participated in the Climate for Health Ambassadors Training at NEHA’s 2019 Annual Educational Conference. The training will be offered again at the NEHA 2020 AEC. Register today to reserve your spot.