|18th Annual SC Upstate Research Symposium Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Runkle|
|The Future of Public Health in the Climate Crisis|
The climate crisis, in the backdrop of persistent social inequalities, is the defining issue of our time. Climate change has and will continue to impact the health and well-being of every community. Yet, not all communities are impacted equally. Historically underserved communities stand to lose the most from the climate crisis. Beyond the direct health effects of climate change, such as heat-related illness, injury and disease in the aftermath of a climate disaster, there are a number of indirect health effects, including population displacement, poor air quality, food and water insecurity, and disruptive economic consequences. Drawing the connection between a changing climate and how these changes amplify existing health inequalities in historically marginalized communities will be a first step towards identifying pathways to resilience. As a nation, we can only achieve resilience if we first care for and prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable communities. By simultaneously addressing the root causes of health inequality and climate injustice, the climate crisis has the potential to dramatically improve public health and transform our most vulnerable communities into thriving and resilient ecosystems.