CLIMATE CHANGE & SUSTAINABILITY
At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, we believe that climate care is health care.
As the central hub of the health care system, radiology departments understand their responsibility to take care of patients and serve physicians, but haven’t had a mindset that also prioritized protecting our planet.
The Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences has undergone a shift in thinking: we realize that when we take care of the planet, we’re also taking care of the patients we serve and the communities they live in. We understand that the future of radiology requires us to think about the future of the planet—and that we must embed that thinking into all of our practices.
Historically, we’ve considered the financial cost of a diagnosis, but we should also be considering the carbon cost for a diagnosis—and the impact of such. As an industry, health care produces 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change widens existing disparities in health and social equity. It’s simple: harming our planet harms our patients.
Now is the time for health care workers to harness their well-earned trust to explain how climate change will affect the future wellbeing of our patients, their children and every subsequent generation.
The only way we’re going to get through this is by working together across health systems, and partnering with industry and governments. This can be implemented through coordinated global actions, clear consistent communications, and public-private partnerships. With this insight, health care—and radiology in particular—can mitigate its contribution to climate change.
Our climate moment has arrived. Please join us in tackling this together.