August 21-23, 2019 / Chicago, IL
Wednesday, August 21, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
The National Academy for State Health Policy’s 32nd annual conference kicks off with an important talk — Addressing the Climate Crisis: An Opportunity for State Health Policy Innovation — by Gary Cohen, founder and president of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth.
A MacArthur Fellow, Cohen speaks eloquently about the impact of pollution and other environmental hazards on human health, while emphasizing health care’s role, noting, “If all the hospitals in the United States were a country, they would be the 13th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – more than the country of Britain.”
He argues that addressing climate change requires us to depoliticize the narrative and instead put the focus on health as a human value that we all share.
The organizations Cohen founded and leads are designed to move the health care sector to become environmentally sustainable and anchor institutions to support environmental health in communities they serve.
A pioneer in the environmental health movement for 30 years, Cohen has helped build coalitions globally to address environmental health impacts related to toxic chemical exposure and climate change. He serves on the boards of the American Sustainable Business Council, Coming Clean, and Health Leads. In 2013, the White House awarded him the Champion of Change Award for Climate Change and Public Health, and in 2015 he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
This #NASHPCONF19 keynote address marks a new chapter for NASHP as we explore climate change as a health policy issue. Cohen’s talk and a conference session scheduled for the following day will provide states with information and ideas for action on a topic that calls for state innovation and leadership.