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OMSA Position on Climate Change and Planetary Health

Endoresed in:

May, 2022

Paper Type:

Position Paper

Authors:

  • James-Jules Linton (University of Ottawa)
  • Racheal Madray (University of Ottawa)
  • Xiu Xia Sherry Tan (University of Ottawa)
  • Liam Quartermain (University of Ottawa)
  • Harry Wang (University of Ottawa)
  • Vanessa Bournival (University of Ottawa)

Background:

The climate crisis is the greatest global health threat of the 21st century. With the well-documented intersections between climate change and health and its disproportionate effects on marginalized populations, it is necessary for the Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA) to adopt an unequivocal stance in advocating for a sustainable, resilient healthcare system that places the climate crisis at the forefront of its priorities, adapting to the current effects of climate change and mitigating worsening climate impacts in the future.

Recommendations:

  • That the Ontario Medical Students Association shall declare a climate emergency, to acknowledge the public health threat posed by climate change, and advocate in support of carbon neutrality in the Canadian healthcare system.
  • That all Ontario undergraduate medical education programs should complete the planetary health report card and implement intersectional planetary health curricula that teach according to the 11 planetary health competencies developed by the Health and Environment Adaptive Responsive Task Force (HEART), within the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS).
  • That Canadian health organizations and universities should follow the lead of the CMA by divesting from companies whose primary source of income rests in fossil fuels, pushing for investment in the growth of sustainable industries including clean energy and zero-emission transportation/building sectors.
  • That OMSA, in collaboration with Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS), petitions the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) to adopt a virtual process for all future Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) interviews as a measure to reduce the carbon emissions footprint of medical students. This should occur following appropriate consultation between medical students and the AFMC.
  • The OMSA shall adopt a set of sustainable practices guidelines for events and activities the organization hosts and encourage the individual medical student governments it represents to adopt similar practices.
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