The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

The Intersection of Climate Change and Medicine with Dr. Erika Moseson

Dr. Erika Moseson, founder of Air Health Our Health, discusses the impact of medicine on the economy, social justice issues, and public health.

  • [01:17] Why Dr. Moseson Chose Pulmonary & Critical Care
  • [03:33] Tips for Students Who Are Interested in Pulmonary & Critical Care
  • [06:39] How Forest Fires and COVID-19 Have Impacted Dr. Moseson
  • [10:28] Pulmonary Health & the Economy
  • [12:50] Advocacy as a Medical Student
  • [19:40] Dr. Moseson’s Words of Wisdom for Medical Students & Pre-Meds

Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Erika Moseson, a pulmonary and critical care doctor based in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Moseson is the Founder of Air Health Our Health, a company which is invested in promoting healthy air and fighting climate change.

Why Pulmonary & Critical Care?

Dr. Moseson liked aspects of both procedural and non-procedural medicine — which is why she found it difficult to choose a specialty. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where she did a rotation in pulmonary & critical care. She enjoyed this specialty as it connected to the real world in terms of public health but also to more intense medicine in the ICU.

Tips for Students Who Are Interested in Pulmonary & Critical Care

Dr. Moseson encourages students who are interested in pulmonary and critical care to research and apply for residency programs that offer this specialty, and that have faculty in this specialty. They should do research into the aspects of this field that interest them, and how this matches with a given residency program.

Pulmonary Health & the Economy

Physicians should work to “make what is invisible visible.” Issues like forest fires are widely visible, and people can see that it is bad for our lungs. However, issues like terrible air quality in certain areas often go unnoticed. Air pollution — particulate matter — has been shown to cause respiratory issues like heart attacks, asthma, strokes, COPD, and more. Therefore, physicians should help to educate the public.

Air quality issues often affect the poorest people the most. For example, a house offers a layer of protection from bad air quality. Therefore, the homeless might be affected two to three times more than a housed person in the same area if there is poor air quality. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that poor air quality itself often occurs in areas inhabited by minority groups.

Even if the public is not concerned about the health of affected populations, we can use the economic costs of healthcare to convince them. It is more economically beneficial to have healthy people who earn money, rather than those who have to stay home sick and incur exorbitant costs for things like inhalers.

Advocacy as a Medical Student

Dr. Moseson sympathizes with students who struggle to participate in advocacy for projects about which they are passionate because they are afraid to offend or to step out of line. Nevertheless, Dr. Moseson encourages medical students to learn the science around the topic that is their passion. The students can be an educated voice of reason in their organizations, and provide a valuable scientific perspective on suggested ideas. She also encourages students to participate in research projects, which is not just important for their medical education, but can inform and enhance their advocacy as well.

Check out Dr. Moseson’s Twitter, and Facebook.

Also, check out the Air Health Our Health website.

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