Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s Climate Change Pledge Receives Recognition at UN

Haverhill Family Health Center, 755 Main St., Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center received national recognition last Thursday as one of 102 health care organizations in the country pledging to reduce emissions and become more resilient to climate change.

The Health Center, with locations in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen, was named by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

While caring for its patients, the Health Center said in a statement, social determinants of health play a major factor in a person’s overall health. Spearheaded by the organization’s Greater Lawrence Family Medicine Residency program, the Health Center “promises ongoing action to curb this major looming factor in the health of individuals and families seeking health care services throughout the Merrimack Valley.”

“Pursuing health equity means that we must each do our part in providing people and patients a fair chance at healthful lives,” said President and CEO Guy L. Fish. “That means examining our practices and eliminating climate impacts we are creating. While the goal is ambitious, the negative consequences of inaction are as unfathomable as they are immoral.”

A September 2021 consensus statement from more than 200 medical journals named climate change the number one threat to global public health, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “It exposes millions of people in the United States to harm every year— with disproportionate impacts on communities that are often already the victims of longstanding disparities. The healthcare sector also contributes to climate change, accounting for approximately 8.5% of U.S. domestic emissions.”

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