Health Care

20 Years In, We’re Just Getting Started

Celebrating Health Care Without Harm’s 20th anniversary, Gary Cohen reflects on the last two decades in the environmental health movement and offers an opportunity for health care to redefine its role in the 21st century.

When we started Health Care Without Harm, we hardly knew anyone who worked in the health care sector. We were mostly outsiders, community activists who had been working for decades in the environmental movement. But we knew we needed powerful allies to transform this emerging science linking the environment to our health into action that would protect our children, our families, our communities. We needed health care.

Back then, new science revealed that low-dose exposures of toxic chemicals in the first thousand days of a child’s life could create a host of health problems later in life, including cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and other chronic diseases. At the same time, we began to learn that pregnant women and unborn children were being exposed to these same toxic chemicals. We were outraged by this chemical trespass into our bodies. And so in September of 1996, a small group of individuals met at Commonweal in Bolinas, California, giving birth to Health Care Without Harm.

Our first campaign focused on medical waste incineration. In 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified medical waste incineration the leading source of dioxin pollution in the United States. Although health care is the one sector of the economy with healing as its mission, its fingerprints were all over the scene of this contamination. We believed that doctors, nurses, and others throughout health care would recognize this contradiction and work hard to put a stop to it.

Read the Full Story on Medium 


Gary Cohen has been a pioneer in the environmental health movement for thirty years. He is president and co-founder of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth and he was instrumental in bringing together the NGOs and hospital systems that formed the Healthier Hospitals Initiative. The White House presented him with the Champion of Change Award for Climate Change and Public Health and the Huffington Post named him a Game Changer in Healthy Living.

 

 

September 6, 2016Global

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Declaration from the Strength from Disaster Conference

In April this year, exactly one year on from the devastating Gorkha earthquake, a conference was held to discuss the lessons learned from the disaster and how the health care sector can become more resilient in the face of natural and manmade disasters.

The conference was organized by Health Care Without Harm, Health Care Foundation Nepal, Tzu Chi Foundation, Nepal's Ministry of Health, Association of Private Health Institutions, the Association of Non-Government Hospitals, and the World Health Organization. It brought together over one hundred and sixty participants, representing the Nepali and foreign health care sectors, and the international healthcare, environmental and disaster response communities.

Delegates concluded that environmentally friendly technologies have the potential to assist health care facilities to stay operational during crises, as well as reducing the amount of dangerous pollution they emit. Up to twenty three percent of deaths globally are linked to environmental factors, including air and water pollution.

The delegates’ conclusions have now been drawn together into a declaration that calls for environmental performance to be considered as an indicator or benchmark in the design of health care systems and emergency planning for risk reduction.

In Kathmandu, after the earthquake, hospitals operating sustainable health care waste management systems continued to treat waste with minimal disruption, with one major trauma center treating over twice the normal amount of waste. Segregating, autoclaving and recycling saves resources, eliminates the carcinogenic dioxin emissions from incinerators, and minimises carbon footprint.

Sourcing food locally and reducing meat consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and promotes health. As well as reducing pollution, renewable energy and independent water systems reduce the dependence of health care facilities on infrastructure which can be disrupted during emergencies.

Mahesh Nakarmi, Director of Health Care Foundation Nepal, and one of the conference organizers, said “Nepal is recovering from this disaster but we need to build back better to protect against future threats, including earthquakes and climate change. Improving the environmental performance of the health care sector is an important part of this strategy and this Declaration helps show the way it can be done.”

To read the declaration, click here.

 

September 1, 2016Global

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Image Gallery | Green Hospitals Asia Regional Conference

Hospitals, health systems, and health organizations from all over Asia came together during the 2016 Green Hospitals Asia Regional Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to tackle how the health sector can work together and mitigate climate change.

Held together with the Indonesian Health Promoting Hospitals Network, the 3rd Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Asia Regional Conference, gathered hundreds of representatives from hospitals, health systems, and health organizations in Indonesia, as well as China, India, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

August 18, 2016Global

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Australia | Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being

HCHW’s strategic partner in Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), is spearheading a movement to achieve a national strategy on climate, health and well-being for Australia. This builds on work done in 2013 when CAHA first called for a National Plan for Climate, Health and Wellbeing in Australia. In June of 2016, CAHA released its Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being to health care stakeholders.

This paper provides a review of the health impacts of climate change in Australia. It then examines the current national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, especially the extent to which they acknowledge and respond to the impacts of climate change on human health and the health sector. The paper goes on to highlight the obligations Australia now has under the global climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, to consider health in the context of its climate policies. Finally, the key elements of a National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being are outlined.

To download the paper, click here.

For more information on the climate and health policy status in Australia, click here.

July 15, 2016Global

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South Africa | KwaZulu-Natal Hospitals on Board

Source: groundWork (page 5)

Article by Luqman Yesufu, GGHH Campaign Manager, Membership Outreach and Engagement in Africa

groundWork, through the Global Green and Healthy Hospital (GGHH) initiative, has been working with health care leaders and hospitals for the past six years on the issues of sustainable waste management strategies that will promote environmental health in both the hospital and the environment. In this regard, by properly sorting and reducing waste, hospitals can achieve two things: they can avoid the disposal cost and reduce the environmental hazards of the waste, thereby being more environmentally responsible.

The decision by the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal to join the Global Green and Healthy Hospital is a timely boost and a step in the right direction. Six hospitals in the province of KwaZulu-Natal – Edendale, Ngwelezana, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Port Shepstone, King Edward and Grey – have all pledged to promote public health by continuously reducing their environmental impact and ultimately eliminating their contribution to the burden of disease. These hospitals have each taken up that leadership role of transforming their own institutions to become advocates for policies and practices that promote environmental health, while also saving scarce resources. We should consider this a major positive step, especially as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported recently that one quarter of all deaths and of the total disease burden can be attributed to the environment.

For more information, click here.

July 11, 2016Global

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Job Opening | HCWH International Managing Director Position Open

International Managing Director

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) - www.noharm.org and www.greenhospitals.net

Click here to download as pdf

Location: Flexible and virtual capable; provided willingness to partially overlap with Pacific Standard Time business hours. Office co-location possible in Boston, Buenos Aires, Brussels, Manila, Reston, or San Francisco.

Position Status: Full time employment

Candidate must be willing and able to travel extensively

Organization Overview: Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is a not-for-profit organization that works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. Our vision is that health care mobilizes its ethical, economic and political influence to create an ecologically sustainable, equitable and healthy world. We seek to carry out our mission and vision by adhering to three overarching goals: protecting public health from climate change; transforming the supply chain, and building leadership for environmental health.

HCWH has offices in the US (Boston and Reston), Europe (Brussels), Latin America (Buenos Aires) and Asia (Manila), and partner organizations in multiple countries including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Nepal and South Africa. HCWH works with hospitals and health care systems, health professionals, ministries of health, NGOs and international organizations such as WHO and UNDP. HCWH’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network has more than 650 members from 37 countries, representing the interests of more than 20,000 hospitals and health centers committed to reduce health care’s environmental footprint and promote environmental health. You can learn more about our organizations at www.noharm.org and www.greenhospitals.net.

Position Overview:

HCWH is looking for a dynamic manager with deep international experience, multiple cultural competencies and a strong organizing background to serve as the International Managing Director. The position requires excellent people and organizational skills. Working with and reporting to the International Director for Program and Strategy, this position will help lead the ongoing international development of Health Care Without Harm—one of the world’s leading environmental health organizations and networks. The position will also work closely with the President and co-founder of HCWH and an International Council composed of the Directors all regional offices; as well as with partner organizations; and global staff.

Responsibilities:

Governance: Coordinate and facilitate annual international planning and budgeting, while supporting the operations of HCWH’s global governance structure, its continuing evolution and long-term strategic planning process.

  • Convene the International Council: Accountable for convening monthly teleconference meetings and 1-2 annual face-to-face meetings of the International Council (IC).
  • Staff the International Council: Accountable for managing agenda, documentation of decisions and recommendations, and facilitate/follow-through to assure their implementation as appropriate.
  • Annual Planning and Budget: Accountable for coordinating annual planning and budgeting among various HCWH regional entities, global staff/projects and partners, and IC deliberations in collaboration with the finance teams.
  • Governance Monitoring and Review: Responsible for regular review and implementation of any revision of international agreements between entities, partnership agreements, etc.
  • Long-Term Organizational Development Planning: Responsible for coordinating and facilitating a long-term organizational development planning process that establishes and implements an evolving framework for an International Health Care Without Harm structure in collaboration with the International Council.
  • Management and Organizational Development: Manage and coordinate the global HCWH operations and set of networks in collaboration with appropriate stakeholders, including: creating a balanced approach between organizational and network-based development by supporting the organizational development of HCWH regional offices and a robust global network membership system; supervising designated international staff; overseeing formal relationships with partners, re-grants between HCWH entities and to partner organizations, project and grant reporting; participating in fundraising.

Global Management Duties:

  • Accountable for managing agreements and reporting related to re-grants from one HCWH-entity to the other (eg. From U.S. to Latin America or Europe to SE Asia) in collaboration with relevant executive and administrative staff in the relevant regions.
  • Accountable for managing agreements and reporting related to re-grants from HCWH entities to partner organizations in other countries/regions in collaboration with relevant executive and administrative staff in the relevant regions and with similar counterparts in partner organizations.
  • Responsible for supporting and providing guidance to HCWH regional organizations and their executive directors in Asia, Europe and Latin America in their efforts to transition from oversight by HCWH international staff to develop robust organizational infrastructure (such as active boards, advisory boards, etc.) and in their management of their organizations.
  • Responsible, in collaboration with other executive staff, for coordinating development of robust global communications, financial, information technology and other administrative capacities, and hiring/supervising relevant staff when appropriate and agreed upon.
  • Oversee management of international budgets funded by HCWH US. Assure coherence and synchronization with income generated in other regions.

Fundraising and grant reporting:

  • Accountable for development and implementation of income generation strategy for HCWH’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network (GGHH) in consultation with development staff.
  • Responsible with others for funding proposal development.
  • Responsible with others for budgeting for proposals.
  • Accountable for grant reporting on global projects grants.

Global Team Convening:

  • Accountable for organizing and convening bi-annual global HCWH team meetings.
  • Accountable for convening regular international staff meetings.
  • Responsible for facilitating cross-organizational communication and collaboration in various areas.

Network Coordination

  • Responsible for building HCWH global structures, such as GGHH, as a robust global network with a diverse yet clear set of membership, partnership and engagement structures.
  • Responsible for establishing and maintaining an appropriate balance between HCWH as a staff-based organization and a global network.
  • Responsible for assuring appropriate and consistent engagement with business across HCWH as an international organization.
  • Responsible for management of institutional strategic partnerships with organizations representing HCWH’s interests in specific countries and synchronizing these partnerships with HCWH’s regional office structure.
  • Responsible for management of institutional partnerships and relationships with international partner organizations

Qualifications:

  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree. Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education.
  • Minimum Experience: 10 years of experience working on public health, healthcare, environmental and/or related issues.
  • Minimum Field of Expertise: Familiarity with advocacy organizations, international NGOs and networks, and member organizations required.
  • Preferred Education: Master’s degree or higher.
  • Preferred Experience: Multiple languages and cultural competencies; international environment/development/health/organizing experience.
  • Preferred Field of Expertise: Familiarity with international management and organizing and in a virtual non-governmental organization.
  • Staff /executive management experience preferred

To Apply:

Health Care Without Harm has contracted Global Recruitment Specialists to assist with this recruitment effort. Please email a cover letter and updated resume/CV to:

Patrick Shields, Search Manager
Global Recruitment Specialists "Positioning You for Success"
501 Westport Avenue, Suite 285, Norwalk, CT 06851 USA
Telephone: +1- 203-899-0499
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.globalrecruitment.net

Your cover letter should at least address the following topics:

  1. Why you are interested in the position and Health Care Without Harm.
  2. How you believe your skills and experiences will meet the needs of the position and contribute to the Health Care Without Harm’s mission.
  3. How you learned of this position.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Health Care Without Harm offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills. Health Care Without Harm is an equal opportunity employer.

 

June 13, 2016
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Dignity Health Urges Bold Climate Leadership at Clean Energy Ministerial

“Hospitals and health systems from most every Clean Energy Ministerial country are participating in Health Care Without Harm’s 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, demonstrating innovative ways to create low carbon health care that can be scaled across national systems,” said Sister Susan Vickers, Vice President of Community Health for Dignity Health (2020 Challenge participant), in her dinner address at the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7).

This annual meeting of energy ministers and other high-level delegates from the 23 CEM member countries and the European Commission is an opportunity for the major economies to collaborate on solutions that advance clean energy globally and demonstrate tangible follow-up actions to COP21.

“We urge you to continue to be bold in addressing climate change, which we believe is the most pressing public health issue of our time,” said Susan Vickers.

To read the full text of Susan Vicker's speech, click here.

Sister Susan Vickers of Dignity Health addresses ministers of energy from more than 20 countries at the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco.
June 2, 2016Global

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“Reaching a Tipping Point”: Climate a key issue at World Health Assembly

by Josh Karliner, Director of Global Projects and International Team Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm.

Every year, the world’s Ministers of Health gather in Geneva to address the most pressing issues related to the physical and social wellbeing of human kind. Debates on infectious disease like the Zika virus, non-communicable diseases, and access to health care usually top the agenda. This year however, climate change — widely considered to be the greatest health threat of the century — broke through in a big way.

Almost six months after she helped broker a unanimous agreement among 195 governments in Paris, Christiana Figueres, head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, came to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to urge ministers of health to prioritize climate change. Figueres eloquently argued that “working on climate change is [our] best prevention strategy” and that ministers need to use “the health microphone…[to] translate what climate change actually means for real people.”

Listening to Figueres’ speak, it struck me how far we’ve come. Just a few years ago, Health Care Without Harm was one of a small number of voices in the wilderness advocating on climate and health. As one WHO colleague put it, “you could fit the number of people working on the issue into a phone booth.”

Today, dozens of governments large and small, along with several major institutions ranging from the World Bank, to the WHO, UNDP, to a growing number of national health professional alliances are all setting their sights on climate and health. Health has become increasingly central to our understanding climate change. And the health sector is ever more prominent in marshaling the forces to adapt to and reverse its deadly trends.

To continue reading, click here.

June 1, 2016Global

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Image Gallery | GGHH Meeting at the 17th China Hospital Construction Conference & Exhibition

GGHH members from China , along with Scott Slotterback, GGHH Policy Director, and Dr DongChun Shin from GGHH member in South Korea, Yonsei University Health System, presented at the Green Hospital Architectural Design and Construction Forum at the 17th China Hospital Construction Conference, Hospital Build & Infrastructure China Exhibition & Congress.

GGHH also had a booth at the exhibition presenting global efforts on green hospital development and GGHH resources.

Date: May 21-23, 2016

For more information on the event, click here.

May 23, 2016Global

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Image Gallery | Strength From Disaster on the Anniversary of Nepal Earthquake

On April 25th, 2015 the devastating Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal killed more that 8,000 people, injured 22,000 and damaged or destroyed some thousand hospitals or healthcare centres. In response to the humanitarian emergency, Health Care Without Harm raised funds to support the efforts of our Nepali strategic partner, Health Care Foundation Nepal.

Today we want to thank you and show you how your generosity has supported the recovery and reconstruction of healthcare facilities in Nepal.

Photos by Ruth Stringer, HCWH International Science and Policy Coordinator

May 18, 2016Global

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