Across the country, low income residents face higher rates of diseases, disabilities, and adverse health conditions. Since low income communities are often communities with people of color, African Americans are commonly exposed to environmental threats that other populations are not. As the Miami Herald states below, "Despite having a lower carbon footprint, African Americans are disproportionately affected by climate change. They are more likely to live within close proximity to waste dumps and in counties that violate federal air-pollution standards, and less likely to be protected and informed about these risks. This sets the stage for disasters related to health disparities and environmental and economic injustices." One of Climate for Health's partners, the National Medical Association, is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health. It is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. Find out more about our partner organizations here and join Climate for Health today.
By Cheryl L. Holder I April 22, 2015
President Obama visited Florida this week to highlight the impact of climate change on one of our most vulnerable natural resources, the precious Everglades.
There’s another climate impact that deserves equal attention. It’s the impact on our most vulnerable human resource, the tens of thousands of low-income Floridians whose health and economic livelihood are particularly at risk from changes in the climate.
The Florida State Medical Association, the state society of the National Medical Association, is concerned about this because too many of our physicians see the harmful effects of carbon pollution and climate change on our patients’ health.
According to a survey conducted last year by George Mason University and the National Medical Association — the leading voice for African-American physicians in the United States — 88 percent of doctors said that climate change is relevant to patient care and 61 percent say that climate change is already having moderate to severe effects on their patients.
More than 2.6 million Florida children and adults had a history of asthma, and approximately 1.6 million had current asthma in 2012, a state report shows. Worsening air quality because of climate change is making it harder for them to breathe. A patient’s coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing can lead to missed school and work days, sports restrictions, doctor’s visits, ER visits and hospital admissions.
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