The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Climate Change and Health Initiative to expand knowledge and address key challenges regarding the environment’s impact on health and conditions like cancer in a collaborating all-hands-on-deck scientific effort, Richard Woychik, PhD, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a blog post in July 2022.
“By working together, NIH institutes and centers can harness their technologies, innovative research approaches, and talent to advance the science of climate change and health,” Woychik said. “Through this timely effort, we will promote resilience in vulnerable communities because our research will help them to understand, prepare for, and recover from climate-related health challenges.”
Woychik further explained how the initiative is a push for “transdisciplinary, team-based science” that helps training, research capacity, and community engagement for an area that threats various populations. Immediate goals, according to Woychik, include strengthen research infrastructure and enhance communication.
“We must involve impacted communities in solutions-focused research that empowers them, health care practitioners, and health and social services agencies to reduce climate-related health risks,” Woychik said. “By generating scientific evidence for public health action, we can use a health equity approach to boost climate resiliency among at-risk groups, whether in the U.S. or low- and middle-income countries.”
The NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative’s Strategic Framework outlines further information, including the importance of the initiative and its objectives.
Climate change contributes to negative health outcomes, including the development of cancer. Oncology nurses have a responsibility to take action—with personal changes, institutional education and practices, and advocacy.