Media release: Healthy planet, healthy people: Leading doctors call for urgent action

Doctors are calling for action on climate change, linking it to conditions such as respiratory diseases and childhood illnesses and also highlighting the need for emergency preparedness.

At the national conference of Doctors for the Environment Australia, in Melbourne, Saturday 1 April and Sunday 2 April, participants will look at climate change in the broader framework of well-being and global health.

Doctors will be joined by experts in meteorology, captains of finance and a range of general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists to discuss impacts of climate change on patients, communities and the effects on their practices.

Spokesperson and DEA co founder, Associate Professor Grant Blashki from the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne and a practising GP, believes that training our future medical workforce about climate change is a priority.

“The doctors we train today are going to be the doctors who are dealing with the serious health impacts of climate change in the coming decades,” says Associate Professor Blashki.

“To date the universities and professional colleges around Australia are not giving climate change and health curriculum the attention it deserves- we are underpreparing our future medicos for an issue which all the leading health bodies around the world agree is the greatest threat to public health.

“What’s extraordinary about this conference is that it’s bringing together presidents of the major medical colleges to agree on how we can best prepare our doctors across the scope of medical professions.”

Professor Bastian M Seidel, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), says climate change is one of the biggest threats to human health this century.

“Climate change ‘hot spots’ lie in rural and remote communities,” says Professor Seidel. “And rural children- particularly those from an Indigenous background – represent the most vulnerable groups.”

Professor Seidel is calling for sustainability education for children, child rights and equity, as well as a greater focus on the specific impacts of climate change on child health. For example, diseases from worm infections, (helminthic diseases), allergies such as hay fever and asthma (aeroallergenic diseases) and diarrheal disease.


Media contact
Professor Bastian M Seidel, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
To organise an interview, please ring the RACGP’s media team: Callie Morgan, 0439 585 798 or Leah Williams, 0429 223 064

Associate Professor Grant Blashki, 0407 662 771


Other speakers at iDEA17 include

Dr Stephen Parnis (Emergency Physician; former Vice-President of AMA and President of AMA Victoria), Are our Emergency Rooms Prepared for the Climate Emergency?

Dr Alessandro Demaio (WHO Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Conditions and Nutrition) Obesity and Climate Change: 8 Reasons to Solve Both Together

Dr Marion Carey (Public Health Physician and Research Fellow at Monash University’s Sustainability Institute), The Great Barrier Reef, Biodiversity and Health

Dr Karl Braganza (Bureau of Meteorology), Climate Science Introduction.

Tim Buckley (Director of Energy Finance Studies, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis), The global electricity market transformation currently underway.

Dr Helen Szoke (Chief Executive, Oxfam Australia), Powering up Against Poverty


Conference details
When: The conference will run in Melbourne from Saturday 1 April until Sunday 2 April.
Where: Copland theatre, basement level of the Business and Economics Building (‘the Spot’) of the University of Melbourne, Pelham St & Berkeley St, Parkville

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