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SEATTLE – (Dec. 2, 2019) — Virginia Mason will host an educational event Dec. 7 exploring the impacts of climate change on human health — considered by many experts to be one of the most urgent problems of our time — and steps to minimize risks to public health and safety.

The event will provide an overview of climate change science, focusing on the specific health impacts of climate change in Washington state. It will also address opportunities for action in health care sustainability, advocacy, communications, and patient and clinician education.

Speakers will include Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD; Jeremy Hess, MD, MPH, director, University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment; Jeff Duchin, MD, health officer, Public Health Seattle & King County; and Gary Cohen, president and co-founder, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth. Coffee and lunch will be provided.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at Volney Richmond Auditorium in the Virginia Mason Lindeman Pavilion (1201 Terry Ave., Seattle), the event is a symposium for health care professionals who can earn continuing medical (CME) or nurse education (CNE) credit for attending. It is also open to the public. Admission is $95 (for CME and CNE course credit) and $30 for general admission. Find CME and CNE information and register.

Titled “Health in a Changing Climate: Understanding Impacts and Opportunities for Action,” organizers include Virginia Mason, Health Care Without Harm, Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Children’s, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and Washington State Medical Association.

“Climate change presents a clear and present danger to humankind,” said John Leigh, director of Sustainability at Virginia Mason. “Our goal for the symposium is to heighten awareness about this increasing threat and galvanize a commitment to meaningful action among health care providers, policy makers and community members.”

The World Health Organization estimates that climate change will cause about 250,000 more deaths per year globally between 2030 and 2050.

The severity of health risks caused by climate change will depend on the ability of public health and safety systems to address or prepare for these evolving threats, as well as factors such as an individual’s age, gender and economic status, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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