Warm greetings to all!
I am incredibly excited to start this new chapter in my life, joining the ecoAmerica Climate for Health team as a Health Equity Fellow. I am deeply passionate about addressing the critical challenges at the intersection of climate change, public health, and social equity and advocating for community-based health priorities, effective policies and interventions.
My interest in environmental health was initially sparked when I would look back on my childhood living in India. During this time, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand the widespread use of traditional cookstoves, which contribute significantly to indoor air pollution. The visible impact on individuals, particularly vulnerable populations, deepened my understanding of the urgent need to address the intersection of indoor air pollution, climate change, and public health.
I pursued a Master’s in Public Health at George Washington University, where I further honed my knowledge and immersed myself into the complex relationship between indoor air pollution and childhood developmental delays. I explored the connections between environmental factors and health outcomes within the One Health framework. One Health is a holistic approach that recognizes the link between the health of humans, animals, and the environment and acknowledges that human health is intricately tied to the health of ecosystems and the well-being of other species. This realization ignited a deep passion within me, compelling me to advocate for a comprehensive and collaborative approach.
I then embarked on an inspiring journey interning for the Uganda Village Project,witnessing firsthand the significant impact of environmental factors on vulnerable populations. It was in those moments, seeing the challenges faced by communities already grappling with social and economic disparities, that I knew then that I wanted to dedicate my efforts to the work between climate change, public health, and social justice. This transformative experience also highlighted the power of sustainable solutions in safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable populations.
Today, as a Health Equity Fellow with ecoAmerica’s Climate for Health, I look forward to working with healthcare professionals, health leaders and health organizations to help speak out about, act on and advocate for climate solutions. My focus will be on raising awareness about the disproportionate burden borne by marginalized communities, as they face the dual challenges of climate change and health disparities. By amplifying the voices of those most affected, we can drive positive change, fostering resilience and empowering communities to thrive in the face of climate challenges.
As I start this journey, I am filled with a sense of enthusiasm and purpose. Together, we can champion a sustainable future where the well-being of individuals and communities is at the forefront of decision-making processes. I look forward to embarking on this collective pursuit of a healthier, more equitable, and environmentally friendly world, knowing that through our combined efforts, we have the power to affect meaningful change!
About the Author
Sweta Waghela, Health Equity Fellow, Climate for Health