Stalks of tall grass with a river and city skyline in the background.Health Care SOS is a podcast that is devoted to discussing and addressing health care sustainability, produced by the Center for the Environment and Health at Massachusetts General Hospital.

About the Podcast

The United States health care system contributes substantially to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Health Care SOS podcast was created by the Center for the Environment and Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Produced by the very experts leading health care today, it is devoted to discussing and addressing topics related to health care sustainability.

The goals of the Health Care SOS podcast are to share the ways in which Mass General is integrating environmental sustainability into the clinical, research and educational activities of the hospital, and to provide tools and knowledge to support other health care institutions to do the same.

Our Episodes

Episode 1: Creating a Sustainability Team

About the Episode

Environmental sustainability, as it pertains to the health care system, is a topic of increasingly recognized importance. In this episode, our guest Jonathan Slutzman, MD, director of the Center for the Environment and Health at Mass General, discusses the process of creating a hospital-based sustainability program as well as the clinical, financial and environmental benefits of its practices. He also suggests key steps for other institutions to consider when developing similar programs.

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About the Guest

Jonathan Slutzman, MDJonathan E. Slutzman, MD, is the director of the Center for the Environment and Health and the medical director for environmental sustainability at Mass General. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University, an intern engineer certificate from the State of New York and a medical degree with distinction in disaster medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Prior to a career in medicine, Dr. Slutzman was a consulting environmental engineer, completing projects in a variety of areas within environmental, health and safety assessment. These included industrial facility audits, commercial and industrial site assessments, environmental life-cycle impact assessments and disaster management exercises. He has completed work on medicine and nuclear war, suburban flood hydrology, health care cost modeling and environmental life-cycle assessment of health care processes. His academic focus is on the costs, both financial and environmental, of health care. He is a founding member and chair of the Mass General Brigham Clinician Sustainability Group, a past chair of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Climate Change and Health Interest Group, on the advisory committee of the Health Care Without Harm Physician Network and a founding member of the Mass General Executive Sustainability Committee.

Resources and References

1. Duhaime A, LaRocque R, Slutzman J. Development of a Center for the Environment and Health at a Large Academic Medical Center. Journal of Climate Change and Health. 2021 October. DOI: 10.1016/j.joclim.2021.100069
Episode 2: Performing a Waste Audit

About the Episode

In this episode, we discuss why waste audits are useful. We review the planning and the logistics involved with conducting a hospital waste audit. Our guests include hospitalists that led a 24-hour waste audit on a 20-bed inpatient unit at MGH, and the director of the Environmental Services Department at MGH.

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About the Guests

Jonathan Eisen, MDDr. Jonathan Eisen is an academic hospitalist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his medical degree from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and completed internal medicine training at Tufts Medical Center. He is also involved in medical education at MGH and Harvard Medical School. As an associate at the MGH Center for the Environment and Health, he has pursued a focus on improving health care sustainability, particularly in the inpatient setting.

Christian Mewaldt, MD Dr. Christian Mewaldt is an academic hospitalist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is an associate at the MGH Center for the Environment and Health and has dedicated his extraclinical efforts to improving health care sustainability by reducing waste production and through teaching about the intersection of climate change and health.

 

 

Ms. Latoya P. BrewsterMs. Latoya P. Brewster is the director of the MGH Environmental Services Department, leading a 500+ member team. She is the Chair of the Association of MGH Multicultural Professionals (AMMP) which is the largest employee resource group at MGH and a member of the Association for the health care environment (AHE). She received her master’s degree in health care administration from Simmons University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

Jonathan Slutzman, MDDr. Jonathan E. Slutzman, MD is the Director of the Center for the Environment and Health and the Medical Director for Environmental Sustainability at MGH. He holds a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University, an Intern Engineer certificate from the State of New York, and an MD with distinction in disaster medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Prior to a career in medicine, Dr. Slutzman was a consulting environmental engineer, completing projects in a variety of areas within environmental, health, and safety assessment. These included industrial facility audits, commercial and industrial site assessments, environmental life-cycle impact assessments, and disaster management exercises. He has completed work on medicine and nuclear war, suburban flood hydrology, health care cost modeling, and environmental life-cycle assessment of health care processes. His academic focus is on the costs, both financial and environmental, of health care. He is a founding member and chair of the Mass General Brigham Clinician Sustainability Group, a past chair of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Climate Change and Health Interest Group, on the advisory committee of the Health Care Without Harm Physician Network, and a founding member of the MGH Executive Sustainability Committee.

Resources and References

1. Grand Rounds Webinar “Inpatient Medicine Waste Audit and the Plastic Pandemic”
2. Hsu S, Thiel C, Mello M, Slutzman J. Dumpster Diving in the Emergency Department: Quantity and Characteristics of Waste at a Level 1 Trauma Center. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine: Integrating Emergency Care with Population Health. 2020; DOI: 10.5811/westjem.2020.6.47900

Episode 3: Research: Publishing Climate Change and Health Research, and Greening Research Labs

A pipette fills a glass vial with water.About the Episode

In this episode, Dr. Duhaime discusses the history of the Journal of Climate Change and Health and opportunities related to publications. She then discusses the environmental impact of research, introduces steps that researchers can consider in greening their labs, and describes the consult service created at MGH to help investigators with these efforts.

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About the Guest

Dr. Ann-Christine Duhaime is the Nicholas T. Zervas Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and was Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) from 2010-2021. She has been a practicing pediatric neurosurgeon for over three decades, and her neuroscience research focuses on the mechanisms, pathophysiology, imaging, and treatment of injury in the immature brain, focusing on translational and clinical research to study injuries occurring in infants and young children, including those seen commonly in child abuse. The work also investigates plasticity, recovery, and return of brain function in children and adolescents through the stages of maturation.

Dr. Duhaime also has a longstanding interest in the relationship between brain and behavior, and in environmental issues. She is an Associate Director of the MGH Center for the Environment and Health, is a Faculty Associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and she serves as the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Climate Change and Health. In 2016 she spent a year as a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University where she studied the neurobiology of reward circuitry and plasticity and its relevance to pro-environmental behavior, and she has been working with a diverse team to design a prototype advanced “green” biophilic pediatric hospital. Her book on this work, Minding the Climate: How Neuroscience Can Help Solve our Environmental Crisis, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2022.

Resources and References

1. The Journal of Climate Change and Health
2. Greening the Lab Tip Sheet (PDF)
Episode 4: Nurses and Other Health Professionals: Climate Change Education and Mentorship

Greytoned images of a nurse's shoulderAbout the Episode

In this episode, Dr. Patrice Nicholas discusses educating nurses and other health professionals about climate change and their role in: educating patients; mitigating the effects of climate change; scholarship and collaboration; and getting involved at the community level.

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About the Guest

Dr. Patrice K. NicholasPatrice K. Nicholas, DNSc, DHL (Hon), MPH, MS, RN, NP-C, FAAN

Dr. Patrice K. Nicholas is distinguished teaching professor and director of the Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and co-director for Policy and Advocacy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for the Environment and Health. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at Fitchburg State University, and both a Master of Science in Nursing degree and Doctor of Nursing Science degree at Boston University. From 1996 to 1999, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health focusing her research on symptom management in HIV disease and global health and completed a Master of Public Health degree in International Health. In May 2010, Dr. Nicholas received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree honoris causa from Fitchburg State University. In 2007, she was selected as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal focusing on adherence to HIV and TB medications. In 2008, she was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. From 2006- 2019, Dr. Nicholas served as director of Global Health and Academic Partnerships at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she also co-led the efforts in their successful American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet journey. She has authored/co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, two texts, and many invited and peer-reviewed presentations including several manuscripts on climate change, climate justice and climate-related health consequences. In summer 2023, Dr. Nicholas will be a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford at the Harris Manchester College Summer Research Institute.

Resources and References

  1. Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health at MGH Institute of Health Professions
  2. National League for Nursing
  3. Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE)
  4. Planetary Health Alliance at Harvard
  5. Yale School of Public Health's Climate Change and Health Certificate
  6. C-Change Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment
  7. Climate Optimist (newsletter)
  8. Climate Health Organizing Fellows Program
Episode 5: Preparing for Climate Change and Disasters: What Health Care Systems Need to Do Differently

About the Episode

In this episode, Dr. Paul Biddinger discusses the critical need to plan our health care system around climate change and its consequences. He reviews a multidisciplinary approach, initial steps and aspects to consider, as well as obstacles to disaster preparedness.

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About the Guest

Dr. Paul BiddingerPaul D. Biddinger, MD, FACEP

Dr. Paul Biddinger is the Chief Preparedness and Continuity Officer at Mass General Brigham in Boston. He holds the Ann L. Prestipino MPH Endowed Chair in Emergency Preparedness and is also the Director of the Center for Disaster Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Biddinger additionally serves as the Director of the Emergency Preparedness Research, Evaluation and Practice (EPREP) Program at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and at the Chan School. Dr. Biddinger serves as a medical officer for the MA-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) in the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Dr. Biddinger is an active researcher in the field of emergency preparedness and has lectured nationally and internationally on topics of preparedness and disaster medicine. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters on multiple topics related to disaster medicine and emergency medical operations and has responded to numerous prior disaster events, including Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Nepal earthquakes, and many others.

He completed his undergraduate study in international relations at Princeton University, attended medical school at Vanderbilt University, and completed residency training in emergency medicine at Harvard.

Resources and References

  1. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
  2. MGH CEH Grand Rounds July 20, 2022: Climate Change and Disasters: What the Healthcare System Needs to Do Differently

Related Podcasts

How Is Climate Change Related to the Human Brain?
Produced by: Charged, the Mass General podcast
Speaker:

  • Ann-Christine Duhaime, MD, associate director of the Center for the Environment and Health and Nicholas T. Zervas Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School

Climate Change, Health and Education
Produced by: NEJM Resident 260
Speakers:

  • Jake Fox, MD, MPH, Mass General internal medicine resident and associate of the Center for the Environment and Health
  • Thomas Kuczmarski, MD, internal medicine resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Karly Hampshire, MD, medical student at UCSF

Meet Our Host

Wynne Armand, MD

Wynne Armand

Host and Editor, Health Care SOS
Associate Director, Mass General Center for the Environment and Health
Primary Care Physician, Mass General Chelsea HealthCare Center

Wynne Armand, MD is the associate director for education and engagement at the Mass General Center for the Environment and Health. Dr. Armand also serves as a primary care physician at Mass General Chelsea HealthCare Center, where she provides comprehensive preventive care, chronic disease management and urgent care to adult patients in a diverse, urban setting.

Dr. Armand is a faculty editor for Primary Care Office Insite (PCOI), a decision-support tool that facilitates day-to-day practice for primary care teams at Mass General and across Mass General Brigham. She is a contributing author for the Harvard Health Blog where she writes on a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.

She is an associate physician at Mass General, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and board-certified in Internal Medicine.

Prior to coming to Mass General, she trained at the University of California at San Francisco in a program focused on providing care to the underserved.

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