A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature authored by medical professionals regarding US biomedicine's role in responding to climate change.


Extant literature illustrates a substantive impact on human health because of climate change. Despite this, discussions of the ethical and policymaking role of US health care's response to this problem are underdeveloped within peer-reviewed literature indexed in core medical databases. We conducted a systematic literature review in August 2017 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center of the following medical, business and policy databases to examine the state of inquiry on this topic: PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, JAMA Network, Health Affairs, Business Source Complete, Greylit.org, LexisNexis Academic, Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global. An initial sample of  = 4434 rendered  = 75 articles precisely addressing this question following a two-tiered systematic examination of content. US medical professionals were most concerned by the health impacts of air pollution and respiratory complications, extreme weather events, and rising infectious/vector-borne diseases. They were least concerned by rising rates of migration and stresses to sanitation systems. Medical professionals took a broadly proactive stance to the issue, highlighting the need to implement education and advocacy strategies. Politics was the least pertinent motivation for climate change-related recommendations. Furthermore, partnerships between health care and public agencies were identified as holding the greatest potential for meaningful change. Mitigation approaches were slightly more common than adaptation approaches. We conclude that, while the enthusiasm of the medical community is commendable, efforts to address climate change in US health care are overly fractured, and lack the necessary expertise for efficaciousness.