The climate of Atlanta, Georgia is changing rapidly, with rising temperatures, wildfires, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, floods and droughts becoming more frequent. The Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative has seen the city create the Resilient Atlanta Strategy to guide urban resilience in light of climate change and socioeconomic issues. These changes can have a direct impact on healthcare professionals and patients, interrupting the delivery of health services and making it difficult for them to access hospitals in the event of an emergency. Ready Georgia provides resources to help create a disaster plan, create a disaster kit, and support community emergency preparedness.
The Georgia Climate Project is also pushing the state to advance monitoring, analysis and participation in relation to the impacts of climate change. In Atlanta, climate-related vulnerabilities include the flooding of homes, densely populated developments that create heat islands, and rising energy bills. In response to the health harms that patients are already suffering and that healthcare professionals are witnessing in patient care settings and communities across Georgia, the Georgia Clinicians for Climate Action (GCCA) was founded. This coalition of health professionals and health organizations is concerned about the impacts of climate change on Georgia residents, especially vulnerable populations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for healthcare professionals to be prepared for climate-related crises and stressors in the provision of health services. Dr. Barkin, an associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia, has seen firsthand how climate-associated damage and diseases are already showing up in exam rooms and hospitals across the state. It is clear that climate change is having a direct impact on healthcare professionals and patients in Atlanta, Georgia. It is essential that healthcare professionals are aware of these impacts so they can be prepared to provide the best care possible for their patients. By taking steps to create a disaster plan, create a disaster kit, support community emergency preparedness and advance monitoring of climate change impacts, healthcare professionals can ensure they are ready to provide care in any situation.