Environmental Health and Climate Change

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has long recognized the environment’s impact on health. Environmental factors have short- and long-term impacts on health and well-being. The AAFP is committed to providing strategies to help family physicians understand and recognize the impact of the environment on patient health, and improve the health of patients affected by poor environmental conditions.

Impacts on Patient Health

As America’s most versatile medical specialists, family physicians diagnose and treat a multitude of diseases that result from the impact of climate change and poor environmental conditions. At the AAFP’s 2017 Family Medicine Experience, family physicians spoke with the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health about climate change and the family physician’s role in dealing with the impact it has on the health of their patients.


Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health

The AAFP is partnering with 20 other medical organizations to form the Medical Society Consortium on Climate Change and Health. The consortium's goal is to give physicians a voice in the discussion on how climate change affects health.

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In addition to existing materials, the AAFP is developing a resource that will focus on climate change and environmental health issues. It identifies the following 11 environmental issues and will focus on their impact on health, as well as provide guidelines for dealing with these issues in patient care:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Vector-borne illness
  • Temperature-related illness
  • Lead and mercury
  • Mold
  • Pesticides and chemical exposure
  • Food safety, distribution, and nutrition
  • Extreme weather event
  • Mental health
  • Vulnerable populations