St. Luke's in Houston joins call for collaborative response to climate change

April 2024

St. Luke's Health is among the funders of a new report that warns about the health impacts of climate change on the system's home turf of Houston. The report offers a series of recommendations to address the threat.

"Houston's Future: The Intersection of Climate Change and Health Care" was released April 10 by the nonprofit Center for Houston's Future, which St. Luke's co-sponsors. The report notes that south Texas faces significant risks as the planet warms from extreme heat, floods and hurricanes. It points to escalating related-health effects, such as more incidences of heatstroke, respiratory illnesses and mosquito-borne illnesses.

The report points out that the health care sector has a dual role in climate change as a major source of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming and the provider of treatment for its health impacts.

"Urgent action to mitigate climate change and address the disparate economic impact of climate change on historically underserved communities is crucial to safeguard Houston's residents and build a healthier future for all," the report says.

The report's recommendations for Houston's health care providers include partnering to share strategies, developing protocols to identify and address climate-related health concerns, and leadership in calling for climate action.

"As part of CommonSpirit Health, the nation's largest nonprofit health care system, St. Luke's Health recognizes that we play a large role in creating and investing in healthier, more equitable communities where we live, work, learn and pray," Doug Lawson, St. Luke's CEO and president of CommonSpirit Health's South Region, said in a release about the report. "We are pleased to fund the center's report that highlights the vital role of collaboration as we work toward sustainable, resilient, climate-smart health care."


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