Climate change and clinical practice event slated March 28

The daylong symposium will bring together stakeholders from all aspects of clinical care and healthcare operations.

Media Contact: Leila Gray - 206.475-9809,

As they witness firsthand the toll of heat waves, wildfires, floods and droughts, clinicians and healthcare systems are increasingly determined to ameliorate the impact of climate change on human health.

To explore how healthcare workers and facilities might respond to this issue, the University of Washington will host a symposium on Climate Change and Clinical Practice on Thursday, March 28. The event will bring together stakeholders from across the spectrum of clinical practice and healthcare system operations. They will examine the implications of the climate crisis on healthcare, as well as possible solutions. 

The symposium will offer a full day of learning, networking and practical approaches to a variety of topics. These include planetary health, disaster preparedness, capacity management, changes in clinical practice specific to various specialties, developing and disseminating climate and healthcare curricula, decarbonization of the clinical environment, medical waste management, and other subjects. 

The organizers are inviting clinicians from all fields and others working in healthcare settings to join them in discussing how to provide outstanding clinical care in the face of climate change. 

The event is geared toward clinicians and support staff; climate policymakers; healthcare operations administrators and staff; medical residents and fellows; medical facilities maintenance professionals; and students and faculty in medicine, social work, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, public health and other health fields.

The symposium is free and open to these types of  professionals and students from Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest, but registration is required. Please see details.  The event is not open to the general public. 

Dr. Timothy Delitt, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the University of Washington School of Medicine, will give the opening remarks.  

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine.

UW School of Public Health pediatric environmental health specialist Dr. Catherine Karr, Seattle Children’s infectious disease physician Dr. Indi Trehan, UW environmental and occupational medicine physician Dr. June Spector, Seattle Children’s pediatric surgeon Sarah Greenberg, UW and UW Medicine bioethicist Dr, Michelle R. Mongomery; and UW clinical child and adolescent psychologist Dr. McKenna Parnes will give flash talks on how climate change affects their work  and the people who rely on them.

Harborview Medical Center emergency medicine physician Dr. Jeremy Hess will lead a panel giving diverse perspectives on interdisciplinary strategies for resilient and sustainable health care systems. 

In addition, the UW deans from across the health sciences fields will discuss the importance of collaborating across disciplines for systems change.

Breakout sessions will include emergency preparedness for and response to climate change-related natural disasters, led by Dr. Steven Mitchell and Dr. Stephen Morris, both from UW Medicine Emergency Medicine; undergraduate, graduate and continuing health professional education on climate change’s impact on health with Dr. Stefan Wheat, UW Medicine Emergency Medicine; and a primary-care and outpatient track conversation led by environmental health pediatrician Dr. Catherine Karr and UW Medicine and Seattle Children's primary-care pediatrician Dr. Mollie Grow.

There will also be two medical waste and sustainability field trips coordinated by UW Medicine anesthesiologist Dr. Elizabeth Hansen.

The symposium is sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine; the UW Center for Health and the Global Environment (UW CHanGEUW EarthLab and UW Sustainability. 


For details about UW Medicine, please visit

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