Rockport Climate Impact Workshops – TownGreen Feb 22

Over the Transom from Town Green:

TownGreen Announces
Rockport Climate Impact Workshops

TownGreen will host its second round of Cape Ann climate impact workshop webinars, this time on Rockport’s Long Beach and the Downtown area, specifically the Dock Square pumping station and Bearskin Neck.

The first Rockport workshop webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 22nd 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom (register here). Participants will hear from local experts who will address storm surge on Long Beach, beach erosion, associated issues due to the seawall, and damage to the salt marsh. A guided field trip to Long Beach at an astronomical high tide will be on Monday, February 20 from 10:30am to 11:30. Take Glenmere Road off Thatcher Road.

The TownGreen program committee decided a month ago to focus the second Rockport workshop webinar on the Dock Square wastewater pumping station. The news this week of its failure during a winter rainstorm and the subsequent release of 758,000 gallons of sewage overflow that consisted, or likely consisted, of untreated or partially treated sewage and waste entering the harbor, merits a more detailed look. The impact of sea level rise and storm surge on Bearskin Neck will also be explored.

The second workshop webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 8th 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom. A field trip at high tide will take place on Friday, March 24th from 2:00-3:00pm. We will meet at Barletta Park, across from Harvey Park.

The last workshop webinar in the Rockport series will look at adaptation and implementation solutions for Downtown Rockport and will be held on Wednesday, March 29th 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom. Participants will review impacts to existing structures and infrastructure and join breakout sessions to discuss questions related to climate impacts on Long Beach and Downtown Rockport.

Check the TownGreen website for more information on updates and registration.

Climate Change Summit + Lancet

Happy Earth Day!

Washington Post ‘President Biden on Thursday — Earth Day — is convening dozens of world leaders, including Pope Francis, for a two-day virtual climate summit, with the aim of putting the United States back at the forefront of the global issue after a retrenchment under President Donald Trump.’

Washington Post video of POTUS and VPOTUS opening remarks
‘We really have no choice, if we want to get this done’
President Biden’s opening remarks are at the very beginning of the video, after Vice President Harris.

Last week, we introduced the book Drawdown, which identified the most doable solutions to Climate issues. We will return to the Drawdown project, in the future, to drill down into individual solutions, but this week we have focused more on the motivation for taking on these tasks.

We turn today to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate
“Climate change underpins all the social and environmental determinants of health but also has positive implications. The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change is an international, multi-disciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions following on from the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.”

The Lancet has created a youtube playlist of short, well crafted, and easily shared, messages on the connections between Climate and Health.

Here are a few examples:
The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2020 report

Lancet Countdown 2020: Challenges and solutions

And finally, the Lancet has recently released a Framework to Guide Planetary Health Education

‘The Planetary Health Education Framework considers five foundational domains that we believe comprise the essence of planetary health knowledge, values, and practice.’

  • ‘Fostering compassion for planet Earth through the recognition of the personal, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of the education process is the central element of the framework.’
  • ‘Second, the anthropocene and health. The anthropocene is characterized by massive disruptions in earth system processes that have resulted from the ballooning of humanity’s ecological footprint.’
  • ‘Third, systems thinking and complexity. The field of planetary health draws upon approaches to systems thinking that have long been a focus in the field of ecology and describes how various elements interact and coalesce as part of complex systems.’
  • ‘Fourth, equity and justice. Equity and justice in planetary health are founded on the rights of humans and the rights of nature, giving all human populations and ecosystems, present and future, the opportunity to attain their full vitality.’
  • ‘Fifth, movement building and systems change. Effective movement building is needed to solve the urgent planetary health crisis.’

What is ‘systems thinking”? Look forward to more about that next week.

Again….Happy Earth Day!

COVID 19 Health Care Inequities – Dr Janice C. Blanchard

Although one could be forgiven for taking a day off to celebrate after the Chauvin verdict, we will finish up our focus on the three American researchers and practitioners interviewed by the Lancet in March, about place, race and health outcomes.

The final profile is of Janice C. Blanchard MD PhD, who is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, an Adjunct Affiliate Researcher at RAND and a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Capitol area.

If her name sounds familiar, you may have heard her speak as one of several Black doctors featured in an NPR piece:
For Black Emergency Doctors In Washington, The Pandemic Is Personal
‘As they treated the pandemic, Wilder and Blanchard collaborated on a paper with eight other black doctors in D.C. about treating COVID-19 for the journal Academic Emergency Medicine. They said their patients of color were more likely to die because of chronic disease; but they were more likely to suffer those conditions because they lacked good food, space to exercise, secure housing and regular income.’

Or, perhaps you saw her on W Kamua Bell’s ‘Greater Than COVID’ YouTube channel playlist THE CONVERSATION: BETWEEN US, ABOUT US, which is a ‘new campaign from KFF’s Greater Than COVID and the Black Coalition Against COVID’..’to dispel misinformation and provide accessible facts about the vaccines from Black health care workers.’

Although these messages were targeted to Black Americans, they simply and directly answer questions all of us have had at one point or another.

What is herd immunity? Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:47)

Do the COVID vaccines change your DNA? Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:41)

Symptomatic vs. Asymptomatic COVID – Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:49)

A few weeks ago, she co-wrote this piece for the Dallas news

Our health system is not equipped to vaccinate rural communities
COVID-19 has revealed weaknesses in rural care that need long-term solutions.

Just as COVID has exposed weaknesses in urban healthcare systems, it has also exposed weaknesses in rural ones. Eg Expansion of vaccine sites to pharmacies seems to expand access to many more people, but many rural folks live in ‘pharmacy and primary care deserts’.

Public health IS infrastructure.

How Racism Gets Under the Skin – Kimberly Jacob Arriola

In this post, we will feature the second speaker from the Lancet Podcast referenced in yesterday’s post, Kimberly Jacob Arriola.

(”Lancet Voices:Black History Month in the USA special
A special episode celebrating Black History Month in the USA speaks with epidemiologist Sharrelle Barber, public health expert Kimberly Jacob Arriola, and emergency doctor Janice Blanchard about the intersection of race and health in the USA across the past, present, and future.”

Kimberly Jacob Arriola, PhD, MPH

‘Dr. Arriola is a Professor in the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. All of her work focuses on improving the health of marginalized populations and communities of color.’

Dr Arriola spoke with the Emory Law School podcast, Emory Law Presents: Conversations About Racism in the 21st Century, Part 2, described as:

‘Thursday, October 1, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences Kimberly Jacob Arriola discussed racial disparities in healthcare. After graduating from Spelman College in 1994, Arriola earned an MA in 1996 and PhD in 1998 from Northeastern University, both in Social Psychology. She earned an MPH in Epidemiology in 2001 from RSPH. For the past 20 years, her work has focused on social and behavioral factors that impact the health of African Americans. More specifically, she has examined and intervened on social factors that drive racial disparities in access to renal transplantation. She has also helped evaluate interventions that seek to reduce racial inequities in HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Aside from being a faculty member, she serves as the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Rollins School of Public Health.’

In this video Dr Arriola discusses research on racism and health and also makes suggestions about what role we can each play in improving health outcomes for all.

Place, Race and Health – Sharrelle Barber

“I use my scholarship to make the invisible, visible” Sharrelle Barber

The beginning of this week we will focus on 3 researchers in the field of systemic racism and health, featured in this podcast from The Lancet.

”Lancet Voices:Black History Month in the USA special
A special episode celebrating Black History Month in the USA speaks with epidemiologist Sharrelle Barber, public health expert Kimberly Jacob Arriola, and emergency doctor Janice Blanchard about the intersection of race and health in the USA across the past, present, and future.”

The first researcher is Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, a Drexel Professor described in her staff bio as “a social epidemiologist whose research focuses on the intersection of place, race, and health.”

Prof Barber recently took part in an MIT conference AI for Healthcare Equity Conference April 12th, 2021

“The potential of AI to bring equity in healthcare has spurred significant research efforts across academia, industry and government. Racial, gender and socio-economic disparities have traditionally afflicted healthcare systems in ways that are difficult to detect and quantify. New AI technologies, however, provide a platform for change. By bringing together thought leaders in these fields, we will assess the current state-of-the-art work in this space, identify key areas of impact, and present machine learning techniques that support fairness, personalization and inclusiveness. We will also discuss the regulatory and policy implications of such innovations. “

Just yesterday, The Anti-racist Community Education youtube channel posted an excellent presentation from Prof Barber.

Racism in the Time of Covid-19
Anti-racist Community Education channel

‘The intersection of race, place and health’
Interlocking systems of oppression

Health Matters – Compassionate End of Life Care

One of our town co-chairs has written to remind those who might be calling MA State Representatives and Senators about supporting the MA compassionate end of life options legislation, that the bill numbers have been updated. The new bill numbers are: House- 2381 , Senate – 1384

If you are new to this issue, a couple of videos may provide a gentle introduction. If you are working on this issue and have videos to recommend, please let the admins know.

In this video, Western Mass. Death with Dignity Director John Berkowitz and Dr. Douglas Barnshaw, speak to New England Public Media’s Carrie Saldo in July of last year.

There is also a US Senate bill related to this issue which was introduced by Sen Blumenthal back in Dec 2020.

The Federal bill would provide funding for education of both consumers and professionals, as well as create modifications of Medicare and Medicaid to adjust for new practice.

In this video, Kelli Garber, Amanda Hudgins, Tara Lester, Sheneka Jones Tucker, Kara Liechty, and William Onieal who are Doctorate of Nursing Practice students at Old Dominion University, provide congressional testimony in support of the Federal bill.

NURS 809 Congressional Testimony Group 3 March 28, 2021