Recent scientific studies show that framing climate change as a health issue rather than an environmental issue were more persuasive with American audience members (Maibach et. al., 2010; Maibach et. al. 2014). Also in 2014, a survey on respiratory healthcare providers and found that a large percentage believed that climate change is happening, it is anthropogenic in nature, and that they cared a great deal.
Healthcare providers’ perceptions of the health-related impacts of climate change has been understudied. The objectives of this research are to access healthcare providers’ perceptions of (1) the relationship between climate change and public or personal health, (2) sources of knowledge about the health impacts of climate change, and (3) belief regarding incorporation into widespread medical curriculum.
Data were gathered using a quantitative survey instrument. Variables
measured regarding the healthcare providers’ included beliefs, knowledge,
communication, perceptions of patient-impacts, medical curriculum, as well demographics. Participants consisted of a volunteer sample of United States healthcare providers (N=36), recruited from two medical organizations and referrals. The overall response rate was 57%. To better understand the nature of relationships
between variables, and to make comparisons among groups, statistical analyses
included correlation and comparison analysis.
Results show that healthcare providers believe climate change could impact human health, but there was disagreement about the importance of incorporating this knowledge into medical curriculum. Only 25% of healthcare providers’ identified health impacts of climate change, which indicates a greater need for education as well as potentially explaining the discrepancy between concern and incorporation into medical training. Analyses of these findings further explain the need for greater incorporation of the health impacts of climate change into widespread American medical curriculum. The results of this study will be used to establish a basis for further inquiry into the perceptions of healthcare providers.