Climate change is a healthcare emergency.

In the Arctic, rapid warming is exacerbating pre-existing health inequities and introducing novel threats to health, particularly among rural and Indigenous populations. These threats include injury and death due to extreme weather events, reduced access to traditional foods, reduced mobility, mental and social stress due to loss of community and culture, and increased exposure to infectious diseases and toxins from thawing permafrost.

Urgent action is needed to protect the health and wellbeing of Arctic residents – and because threats to human health in Arctic populations are an indicator of threats to come in more temperate latitudes. Yet national and international policymakers have been slow to recognize the linkages between climate change and population health.

Speakers

  • N. Stuart Harris (Moderator)

    "Stuart Harris"N. Stuart Harris, M.D., is the founder and Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Wilderness Medicine and the Director of the MGH Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. He is a full-time attending physician in the MGH Emergency Department and an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He graduated from the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency in 2003.

    Harris' research focuses on investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of acute hypoxia/ high altitude illness and on the interplay between climate change and human health. His drive to increase physician awareness of the interaction between environmental degradation and individual and public health has led to the creation of the first Wilderness Medicine Fellowship at MGH. He has been conducting research with the Himalayan Rescue Association in the Mt. Everest region since 1999 and the U.S. Army’s Research Institute for Environmental Medicine since 2004.

    The Division’s research teams are active on Mt. Kilimanjaro, in the Andes, far Eastern Siberia, Alaska, on mitochondrial dysfunction (Drs. Zapol, Mootha, and Berra) and in the MGH ED (NO COV-ED trial PI — using inhaled nitric oxide to treat acute COVID). In 2011, he worked a Denali National Park climbing ranger patrol where he performed the first ultrasound imaging on a summit of N. America. He works closely with the Wood Hole Research Center. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. DOD, MGH, and HMS.

  • Rob Inglis

    "Rob Inglis"Robert Inglis, MD is an emergency physician at the UVM Medical Center and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Larner College of Medicine.  

    Dr. Inglis went into medicine after an early career as a policy analyst and environmental journalist. His former career is reflected in his continued interest in the health impacts of climate change, the health benefits of access to nature and ways in which we can reduce the environmental footprint of our health care systems.  

    He became an emergency physician because he believes in providing expert, compassionate care to everyone who comes through the hospital doors, regardless of age, background or ability to pay. He does his best to make his patients feel like equal partners in their care, even in the midst of a busy emergency department. 

  • Lucas Trout

    "Lucas Trout"Lucas Jacob Trout is lecturer on global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, managing partner at Siamit, and Sayaqagvik director at Maniilaq Social Medicine. In these roles, Lucas leads clinical, research, and training programs focused on supporting rural and tribal health systems through responsive, equitable, and lasting community partnerships.

    Lucas grew up in the Midwest as one of eight siblings. He spent his early career working as a firefighter and EMT in the Mountain West and Alaska, where he discovered a love for the crossroads of health care and social science. He went on to study clinical psychology at Seattle University before returning to Kotzebue to found Maniilaq Social Medicine and Siamit in 2016.

    Since then, Lucas and the Siamit family have worked to build a model for tribal health partnerships around the principles of Indigenous leadership, social medicine, and clinical excellence. For this work, Lucas was named a Young Leader in Primary Care by the World Health Organization. In his free time, Lucas likes to roast coffee, read fiction, and skijor with his dog, Casimir.

  • Paul Forward

    "Paul Forward"Paul Forward, MD is originally from Eagle River, Alaska and trained as a family medicine physician, having completed medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Since residency he has worked 11 years practicing the full spectrum of family medicine in rural Alaska, the last seven of which have been at Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue where he is currently the assistant medical director. He teaches Advanced Wilderness Life Support, guides backcountry skiing for 2-3 months every winter and has been involved in extensive wilderness travel endeavors throughout his life. He has spent as much time in the arctic regions of the Alaska as possible since his first trip hunting trip north of the arctic circle in 1992. He is involved in climate change advocacy through a variety of organizations and projects. 

  • Corina Qaaġraq Kramer

    "Corina Qaagraq Kramer"Corina Qaaġraq Kramer is Iñupiaq Inuit living in Kotzebue, Alaska. She is the Director of Operations for Aqqaluk Trust overseeing Iñupiaq language, culture, well-being, and cultural youth camp efforts for the Northwest Alaska region. Qaaġraq comes to us with a background in program development and project management, with prioritization in the integration of Iñupiat Iḷitqusiat value system into western business, education, and health practices. She works with Siamit/Harvard as a community director and faculty. She has produced various media projects focused on guiding the native people of rural Alaska to live a healthy life and helping outside partners understand how to have cultural humility in indigenous communities. Corina is passionate about finding restoration through knowledge, and believes that reviving culture, language, and Inuit well-being will be key in producing healthy families and communities among her people.

  • L. Suzanne Leslie

    "Suzanne Leslie"L. Suzanne Leslie, MD is a Wilderness Medicine Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital. She serves as an emergency physician in the emergency departments as MGH and Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, Alaska. She did her emergency medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. Suzanne grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and previously worked as an experimental scientist.