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Health Impacts from Climate Change: The Importance of Public Health Partnerships

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Session Description: 

One of the most important challenges facing the world is the increasing impact of global warming and water scarcity. While global mean temperature changes have been generally modest (less than 1 degree Celsius), already changes in the extremely hot end of the temperatures today are increasingly being ascribed to climate change. The interface between climate, water availability and disease is seen to be of major importance to our future, not only for spread of infectious diseases but also for diseases associated with dehydration.

Recent work has identified dehydration-associated kidney disease (termed chronic kidney disease of CKD) as the first major epidemic due to climate change, with different regional hot spots in Central America with over 20k deaths, and at several locations in India, Sri Lanka, and Africa, as well as potential hot spots in the agricultural valleys of southern Colorado and southern California. The large increase in CKD in Central America coincides with significant rise in maximum temperatures, particularly in those areas that are climatologically the warmest in the region.

This meeting will help form a climate health partnership in the form of a multidisciplinary consortium to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries in topics directly related to the increasing impact of climate change on human health. Participants are likely to include physicians, climatologists, geneticists, medical anthropologists, epidemiologists and clinical trialists, as well as individuals interested in the effects of climate change on agriculture, nutrition, economics and government policy. The workshop will develop relationships for future professional activities and collaboration.