Charlotte Wallace, RN, represents nursing at round table with President Obama.

Charlotte Wallace, RN, represents nursing at round table with President Obama.

Everyone deserves a healthy life.  And all of us — individuals, organizations and businesses — have a responsibility to protect health and prevent disease, not merely treat it.

Higher temperatures means prolonged allergy seasons, more powerful storms, and increased wild fires (causing more particulate matter in the air). Together these incidents have a profound affect on the health outcomes of our most vulnerable populations (pediatric, geriatric, lower socioeconomic status, etc.).

On Tuesday, April 7, I had the honor of representing nursing at a high level meeting with President Obama and senior administrators at Howard University. The closed 40 minute round table discussion on how climate change affects our health was followed by a press conference. See the video here.

Some of the takeaway comments from the round table discussion were:

While we all already know the health disparities, I just want to remind everyone that while we are in this meeting, a little girl will be born in Baltimore to a lower socioeconomic, African-American family and simply because of where and to whom she is born we already know she has will probably have asthma; potentially hospitalized, causing her parents to miss work. We also know she will miss school due to her asthma, but she needs to be in school because a solid education is her pathway out of poverty and the way for her to reach her full potential in life. -Charlotte Wallace, RN

Climate change is just one more example of how the environment will cause health problems. -President Barak Obama

Children grow up! We need our future workforce and leaders healthy. –Dr. Bryant-Stephens, Pediatrician

Prevention should be the driving force in our efforts to improve health in America. –Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General

At one point, Dr. Edward Cornwell III, a professor and surgeon, stated: People listen to their doctors.” President Obama responded, “I don’t think I agree. You know who people listen to? Nurses.”

We, as nurses, must educate ourselves on this issue. Learn more about what is being done to protect health and communities here: www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/07/fact-sheet-administration-announces-actions-protect-communities-impacts- -Charlotte Wallace, RN

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