Supporting Climate, Health, and Equity under the Farm Bill

Perspective by Lisa Patel, M.D., M.E.Sc., and Linda Rudolph, M.D., M.P.H.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine | October 21, 2023

The summer of 2023 will most likely be remembered as a time when people worldwide pivoted away from understanding climate change as a primarily environmental issue to experiencing it as a growing health crisis for which communities were unprepared. In many parts of the United States and the world, people confronted long and intense periods of extreme heat as well as wildfire smoke blanketing new regions, with associated hospitalizations and deaths.

In recent years, organized medicine has sounded the alarm on climate change and advocated for policies that could mitigate it and protect populations from related threats. The health care community, working in coalition with environmental organizations, played an important role in supporting the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and has weighed in on several proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules, which together could substantially reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States. But such reductions won’t be enough to avert potentially catastrophic increases in global temperatures. Much more needs to be done, and there are myriad opportunities for health professionals to use their voices to make a critical difference. One such opportunity at the federal level relates to the 2023 reauthorization of the Farm Bill…READ FULL ARTICLE>


From the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, Fairfax, VA (L.P., L.R.); and the Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto (L.P.), and the Public Health Institute, Oakland (L.R.) — both in California.