186238 Abstract #1: SESSION: Public health without borders: Environmental health nursing and climate change

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:30 PM

Laura Anderko, RN PhD , Nursing, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Elizabeth Blackburn, RN BSN , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Stephanie Chalupka, EdD, PHNCNS-BC , Department of Nursing, Worcester State College, Worcester, MA
Barbara Sattler, RN, DrPH, FAAN , Environmental Health Education Center, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Background: A number of health effects have been linked to climate change as a result of increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and increases in particulates and other fossil fuel-related air pollutants. A rise in infectious diseases, water-borne diseases, and health-related morbidity and mortality are just a few of the public health concerns emerging from climate change research as real public health threats. The topic of climate change and public health is a critical one for nurses to consider and act upon. Nurses can contribute to mitigating and preventing public health issues as a result of climate change through activism, advocacy, research, education, and practice initiatives. The Environmental Health Nursing Working Group of the Public Health Nursing Section in APHA has been successful in the production of two important documents: The Greenprint for Action and the Environmental Health Principles and Recommendations for Public Health Nursing. Both documents have provided valuable information to nurses seeking to infuse environmental principles into their practice, research, education and/or advocacy efforts.

Methods: This presentation will include a review of the current literature describing the consequences of climate change on human health and include information on a) Airborne allergens; b) Temperature-related morbidity and mortality; c) Infectious diseases; d) Accidents and injuries; e) Water-borne diseases; f) Changes in air quality and h) Vector and rodent-borne diseases. Factors contributing to global climate change will also be described.

Results: Potential strategies for nursing action will be discussed in the context of the Environmental Health Nursing Working Group's Environmental Health Principles and Recommendations for Public Health Nursing.

Conclusions: It is critical that nurses understand the health effects of global climate change and identify methods for reducing global climate change through policy, advocacy, research, education, and practice initiatives.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify relevant scientific information related to global climate change and public health 2. Identify the public health impacts associated with changes in global climate 3. Describe ways in which public health nurses can play an active role in primary and secondary prevention of climate change health effects

Keywords: Climate Change, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have taught environmental health for over 15 years, including global climate change issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.