Statement attributable to:
Omar T. Atiq, MD, FACP
WASHINGTON July 28, 2023 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged by the announcement from the Biden administration of new efforts to protect communities and workers across the U.S. from extreme heat, including $152 million for water storage and pipelines for drought-stricken communities in western states, and $7 million for improving weather forecasts. Additionally, President Biden has issued a hazard alert notifying employers and workers about ways to stay safe from extreme heat as some cities continue to see temperatures reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.
ACP has previously called for efforts to battle climate change, recognizing that it is a global, human, and environmental health crisis requiring immediate action to limit global temperature rise. In April 2020, ACP issued a policy statement on heat exposure that recognized excessive heat exposure and heat-related illnesses as public health threats. Last November, the Annals of Internal Medicine published Environmental Health: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians, which offers policymakers recommendations to reduce the adverse health consequences of climate change, improve air and water quality, reduce exposure to toxic substances, and address environmental injustice. This paper builds on ACP’s 2016 paper Climate Change and Health. ACP’s policy recognizes that human and planetary health are interconnected. The World Health Organization calls climate change “the single biggest threat facing humanity” and highlights that “health professionals worldwide are already responding to the health harms caused by this unfolding crisis.”
The College has also created a Climate Change Toolkit where internal medicine physicians can learn how to help address climate change by reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in their own practices, advocating for climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, and learning about how climate change affects their community.
However, additional work needs to be done, including bi-partisan legislation and aggressive action to ensure the safety and welfare of workers and U.S. communities as they confront extreme weather. ACP will continue its advocacy with legislators and policymakers to tackle the global environmental challenges ahead.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 160,000 internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.