Published: 07/06/2023

As Canada and the United States contend with weeks of toxic wildfire smoke, Global Health Faculty Fellow Dr. Lisa Patel is raising the alarm for that smoke’s particularly negative impacts on the health of young children.

Along with Dr. Alexander Rabin, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan, she penned an essay recently published in The New York Times calling attention to the alarming fact that smoke from wildfires can be ten times as detrimental to children’s health as smoke from ordinary pollution.

“This new recurring threat of terrible air quality from wildfire smoke is one big reason we believe that for a child born today, climate change may be the single greatest determinant of health over the course of their lives,” Patel and Rabin wrote.

The essay is the latest step in Patel’s multi-faceted efforts to translate the findings of fellow pediatricians and researchers into actionable information to help families, schools, cities, and states protect children against the negative impacts of climate change.

Learn more here about the report she led making a case for investing in climate-resilient schools in California. This initiative was supported by CIGH’s Action Lab for Planetary Health.