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Environmental Health Division
Discussing Climate Change with Patients
Resources to talk about health and climate change with your patients.
Seventy-five percent of Minnesota’s healthcare professionals agreed that climate change is happening and impacting health, according to a recent study "Understanding the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Healthcare Professionals toward Climate Change and Health in Minnesota”.
Yet many healthcare professionals hesitate to discuss climate and health with their patients.
MDH developed tools that address commonly reported barriers to starting the conversation including perceived lack of climate change expertise, hesitancy to approach the conversation, and limited time with patients.
Tools for healthcare professionals
11 - Minute Training Video
Narrated roleplay examples of a provider discussing health and climate change with their patient.
Conversation Mapping Guide
Plan a short conversation with prompts, quick climate change facts, and useful resources.
Why talk about climate change with patients?
“I counsel patients on how they can minimize environmental impacts on their health like how I would counsel someone on a safe home environment to prevent falls...the unjust distribution of climate impacts drives my work around climate change."
— Laalitha Surapaneni, MD, MPH, internal medicine physician and assistant professor, M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center
"Climate change is a public health emergency, and as health professionals, it's our duty to inform and empower our patients to protect themselves because it's not just about the environment; it's about safeguarding the well-being of our community members and future generations."
— Pang Lor, BSN, RN, PHN, Doctor of Nursing Practice student, University of Minnesota
" It’s important to understand why people feel the way they do and help them understand that climate change is a significant problem that also affects them. We are all in this together, and we must figure it out together.”
— Micah Niermann, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Gillette Children’s
“It’s essential that medical students learn how to discuss climate and health with patients. If a patient lives within a specific area of the city with high pollution levels, they may be at risk for additional conditions or exacerbated asthma."
— Anna Rahrick, student, University of Minnesota School of Medicine ’22of Minnesota
The quotes above are adapted from Climate and Health Champion Stories.
- Printable Climate and Health Posters (Center for Climate Change & Health)
- Video: How Climate Affects Community Health (CDC)
- Health Risks of Climate Change for People with Lung Disease (American Lung Association)
- Respiratory Illness and Climate Change Factsheet (Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate)
- Health Impacts of Air Pollution (MDH)
- Wellbeing and Climate Change (MDH)
- Youth Wellbeing and Climate Change (MDH)