April 2023

Below please find updates on Emerging Health Professional Activist Projects that SF Bay PSR has supported recently through the Dr. Tom Hall Student and Young Professionals Fund. Please consider a donation to support our future leaders. Donate here.

The fund was started with a generous bequest by Dr. Tom Hall, professor of epidemiology and global health leader. Dr. Hall was a member of the SF Bay PSR Board of Directors for decades and a strong advocate for ensuring medical and public health students receive support and mentorship to engage in creating a healthier planet.

Emerging health professionals feel not only pressure to achieve their career goals, but also a great responsibility to protect our planet from climate change and nuclear annihilation. SF Bay PSR provides early career health professionals with project mentorship and funding, and experiences in policy advocacy, communications, and nonprofit administration—giving them the support and encouragement needed to become health activist leaders.

Dr. Katie Lichter, resident physician and climate fellow at University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) credits her SF Bay PSR mentorship with motivating her to not only study climate-health issues, but to take the next step, to create tools for use by other health professionals and institutions to reduce their carbon footprint.

In this outstanding presentation, supported by our student fund, Dr. Lichter shares her inspirational journey toward founding the Green Health Lab at UCSF where students and residents can engage and collaborate on climate-health projects. Some of those projects include the following:

Waste Audit Toolkit: This six-minute assessment is designed to help health professionals better track procedural waste and identify opportunities to reduce clinical and procedural waste. This project has been expanded throughout UCSF and Stanford and is available for other residents to implement as a quality improvement project at their institutions. Also, Dr. Lichter and the Climate Health Resources Education team are working to generate similar toolkits for other areas of medicine.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Data Collection Tool: This tool was developed to enable streamlined data collection and assessment of the total environmental impact of a health care clinical process (e.g., radiation therapy treatment course). The template is now being used by four other U.S. oncology centers and three international institutions.

Conference Emissions Calculator – Network Greener: Conference attendees and organizers can calculate the greenhouse gas emissions generated by traveling to a conference compared to attending online, and choose life style changes (such as eating a more plant-based diet) to help offset the travel emissions. Please watch out for the launch this summer! In the meantime, be the first to view the beta version released this week: https://networkgreener.com. If you have feedback on the beta version, please send to Dr. Ali Sabbagh, alisabbagh25@gmail.com.

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SF Bay PSR’s Internship Program teaches the next generation of healthcare professionals activism, leadership, and advocacy skills in our areas of concentration: nuclear weapons abolition, climate change, environmental health, and intersecting social and racial justice issues.

Lilah Blalock, a UCSF medical student and SF Bay PSR intern, created a series of infographics about the environmental and health harms of gas appliances. Some of her infographics were published in this Marin Magazine article, “How Gas Appliances Threaten Household Health—and Drive the Climate Crisis.”

She has also written an op-ed about her experience caring for asthma patients in her pediatric rotation and the important role health professionals can play in educating families about how indoor gas stove pollution can contribute to asthma symptoms.

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From left to right: Anlan Cheney, India Rogers-Shepp, Raj Fadadu, and Karly Hampshire.

SF Bay PSR’s Young Health Activist Awards are given to heath science students, postgraduate trainees, and early career professionals every year at our gala. We offer awards honoring work in our chapter’s three major areas of focus: nuclear abolition and peace, health equity and social justice, and environmental health. We need your help to continue to support these emerging leaders!

Anlan Cheney: Nuclear Abolition & Peace:  Anlan has for the past few years emerged as an important leader within the Peace Caucus in affiliation with the American Public Health Association (APHA), serving as communications chair and program co-chair. She is also a member of PSR National’s #Demand Access campaign steering committee, working with a group of other young health professionals to educate and mobilize their peers to take action on national budget priorities regarding health, the military, and intersections of climate harm, nuclear threats, and issues of social justice.

India Rogers-Shepp: Health Equity & Social Justice: India’s demonstrated commitment to science is equally matched by her commitment to social justice. After graduation, she worked with a community non-profit, HUD-certified lending and counseling agency to increase affordable rental and home-buying opportunities for low-income clients. She also worked with the Coalition for the Homeless in New York to investigate how COVID-19 amplified and compounded the negative health outcomes for people without homes. She has continued this line of research as a medical student at Stanford, where she investigated the links between housing and health in recently re-homed populations.

Raj Fadadu: Environmental Health: For his master’s thesis at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, Raj studied the impacts of wildfire air pollution on eczema and itch. His work resulted in a seminal publication in the most prestigious clinical dermatology journal, JAMA Dermatology, bringing to the wider attention of dermatologists both the role of air pollution and impacts of climate change on skin diseases. Raj doesn’t just work with his pen. While at UC Berkeley, he founded the Environmental Health Working Group of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition and co-founded Health Students for Climate Action, and he was student lead for the Wildfire Education Project at the new UC Center for Climate, Health, and Equity.

Karly Hampshire: Environmental Health: Karly led the nationwide effort to construct and implement the Planetary Health Report Card to assess medical schools’ engagement with climate education, research, community outreach, and advocacy. She was also a founding member of the national organization, Medical Students for a Sustainable Future. Not pausing there, she also lead the Climate Resources for Health Education Initiative as part of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, bringing more than 200 students, residents, and faculty from multiple institutions, including UCSF, Emory, and Harvard universities to develop standardized materials for climate and health education.

Please consider a donation to support our future leaders. Donate here.