Utah Climate for Health Ambassadors Training

By Joan Connelly, Epidemiologist

Earlier this month, I attended the Climate for Health Ambassadors Training at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City. As someone who is heavily interested in learning more about the role that climate change and pollution have on the increasing population, I was thrilled to hear from so many passionate and knowledgeable leaders in the field sharing their findings and experiences with interested individuals.

Climate change is often treated as a partisan issue despite the growing body of scientific evidence proving otherwise. As participants in the training, we learned just how detrimental climate change can be in ways presented in our own region of the United States and worldwide, including floods carrying E.coli, respiratory impacts of drought, and the onslaught of vector-borne diseases – all issues that can be mitigated if the population and elected officials are informed. This training gave us great insight into how to connect on a common ground with those with differing climate change beliefs to enact change. Moreover, we were taught that even just one person can make a tremendous impact on environmental policy by using their voice. We had the chance to collaborate in small groups and practice writing our own blog, op-ed, or email to an elected official. After the training, all of the presenters were more than willing to give their time to advise on how to get more involved.

As an Epidemiologist, environmental exposures are often overlooked as risk factors for morbidity and mortality. I am so grateful to ecoAmerica and Climate for Health for providing such valuable scientifically-proven information, as well as encouraging all participants to take charge of environmental preservation in their area by imploring their elected officials to act. I am so excited to be a Climate for Health Ambassador and encourage all to attend!

Originally from New Jersey, Joan now works as an Epidemiologist in Utah. She eventually wants to work in clean water advocacy.

Editor’s Note: On November 8, 2019 ecoAmerica staff from our Climate for Health and Path to Positive Communities programs joined with local partners Salt Lake County Health Department, Utah Clean Energy, and Utah Climate Action Network in Salt Lake City for the Climate for Health Ambassadors Training. We are looking forward to supporting the Utah Climate for Health Ambassadors as they act and advocate on climate solutions. If you would like to learn more about becoming an Ambassador or hosting a training, you can contact us at HealthAmbassadors@ecoamerica.org.

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