Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth honor environmental health heroes

Published: 05/09/2019 - 09:52

May 9, 2019

Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth honor environmental health heroes

Every year Health Care Without Harm honors an individual with the Environmental Health Hero award. This year, the nonprofit organization didn’t stop at one person. They’re recognizing the entire staffs at three California hospitals who went above and beyond to care for their communities during extreme weather events from wildfires to heat waves.  

Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center made sure vulnerable members of community received attention and care during record-setting heat waves. 

And doctors, nurses, and staff in every role from from janitorial to reception at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center and Sutter Health Santa Rosa Regional Hospital cared for for their neighbors during the 2017 wildfires in spite of their own homes being threatened by flames.

“Climate change was at their doorsteps, and staff at these hospitals showed up,” said Gary Cohen, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth founder and president. “From hurricanes in South Carolina to flooding in the Midwest, health care professionals across the country are proving the power of hospital resiliency during extreme weather events by going beyond clinical care and becoming a safe haven for their communities.”

Staff members from the impacted Dignity, Kaiser Permanente, and Sutter hospitals took the stage to share their stories and accept the 2019 Environmental Health Hero awards on behalf of their colleagues at CleanMed May 9.

Nearly 1,000 professionals gathered in Nashville for the premier conference in health care sustainability. These individuals and hospital were also celebrated at CleanMed:

Adelita G. Cantu, Ph.D., RN, UT Health San Antonio associate professor of nursing, received the 2019 Charlotte Brody Award. Cantu has taught hundreds of students of all ages about the health impacts of climate change, while working tirelessly with her community to build a healthier future.

Barbara E. Tretheway, HealthPartners senior vice president and general counsel, received the Visionary Leader Award for exemplary leadership in advocating for and integrating sustainability and environmental stewardship into operational excellence.

Dr. Hilary Ong, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Children’s National Medical Center, received the inaugural Emerging Physician Leader Award and scholarship for her commitment to protect children from environmental health threats, including air pollution and climate change.
Dr. Emily Sbiroli, a resident physician at UC San Diego Health Department of Emergency Medicine, was also selected Emerging Physician Leader Award and scholarship for her enthusiasm for climate-smart health care and vision for a sustainable future.    

Jessica Dolan was one of four recipients of the Stephanie Davis Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Award and Scholarship. Dolan is staff telemetry nurse at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H., where she founded and continues to lead her hospital’s first sustainability team. 

Kate Gottlieb, Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital sustainability program coordinator, also received the Stephanie Davis Award. She is passionate about environmental change to influence behavior change.

Sarah Hsu is a first-year medical student at Brown University, where she founded of the Environmental Coalition to address sustainability and waste reduction at the medical school. A recipient of the Stephanie Davis Award, Hsu is also leading the charge to incorporate climate change education into the medical curriculum.

Daniel Mukonde is a Zambian national who started a community project to manage medical waste in a more sustainable manner in a poor community where there are no medical waste management services and inadequate waste disposal facilities. Mukonde also received the Stephanie Davis Award.

NYU Langone Health received the Climate and Health Innovation Award for their efforts to validate and benchmark their climate resilience work and to contribute to an industry standard. 

About Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so the sector reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. Working closely with Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth is the leading membership and networking organization for sustainable health care, delivering environmental solutions to more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems.


Lindsey Corey

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