Climate change is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. In San Francisco, climate change means more extreme heat days and precipitation events, sea level rise, and air pollution– and these climate impacts have significant and cascading effects on public health. Although all San Franciscans will be impacted by climate change, not all San Franciscans will suffer these impacts evenly. The unequal distribution of climate health impacts means that populations that already carry a significant health burden are the same populations expected to be most affected. While the breadth of climate change’s causes and effects mandates action from all sectors of society, the healthcare sector in particular will be at the forefront of climate health resilience efforts. Clinicians are often the first-point-of-contact to vulnerable populations, and must be trained identify and treat climate-related health impacts, help patients prepare for future climate-related health impacts, and connect patients to available local, state, and federal climate preparedness resources.
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