Future-proofing health in a changing climate: Read our latest edition of Pathways

A message from Dermot Kelleher, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President, Health, UBC.

Pathways - Climate change and planetary health

Wildfires, heat domes, flooding, drought — as global temperatures rise, we are seeing more frequent and more intense climate hazards here in British Columbia, across Canada, and around the world. They present new threats to our physical and mental health and wellbeing, and they make existing challenges worse.

As Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, emphasizes in a recent report, climate change “is arguably the largest looming threat to the health of our communities and our planet.”

The question is, how can we begin to future-proof our health and healthcare systems so we can adapt, thrive and make the world a better place, today and for generations to come?

In the latest issue of our award-winning Pathways Magazine, you can discover how the Faculty of Medicine is tackling this urgent question.

The new issue showcases the innovative work of our faculty, staff, and learners as we uncover the evolving impacts of climate change on our health and wellbeing. The challenges facing us are complex and deeply concerning, and the solutions are not simple. But it’s critical that we play our part — by asking the key questions and finding new answers that contribute to planetary health.

You’ll see how, in close collaboration with our health partners, we are translating our research into new treatments, tools and programs to protect our future health — breakthroughs that influence the environment so that we can live longer and healthier lives from birth to old age; make healthcare systems more accessible, equitable, responsive and sustainable when we do get sick; and shrink the carbon footprint of health research and healthcare systems.

Ultimately, climate action in health begins with our most vulnerable populations. Only by protecting the people who are most affected today can we transform health for everyone tomorrow.

This philosophy guides all of the work you’ll read about, from improving respiratory health services for Indigenous communities, to helping people cope with climate anxiety, to training the next generation of health professionals with new skills and knowledge.

Countless lives will depend on the action we take together — as researchers, educators, learners, staff, community members and citizens of the world.

The future of health starts with us.

This message was sent to all faculty, staff and learners in the Faculty of Medicine.