Advocacy

We mobilize coordinated medical student actions and advocate for policy solutions to match the scale of the climate crisis. We provide resources and support to medical students across the country, so they can better engage in advocacy at institutional, local, and national levels.

MS4SF Actionar & Social 

Join the MS4SF Advocacy Team for a brief review of health-related actions at COP26 and the status of major climate legislation in the US Congress, followed by an action (calling Congress) and a chance to meet other students interested in climate and health work! Register here.

September Actions

As Congress prepares to decide the concrete provisions of the national budget and infrastructure bill, we want to share 3 actions you can take before the vote. These bills may be the last, best opportunity we have for federal climate action that’s proportionate to the crisis at hand, and your voice as a healthcare professional-in-training is unique, powerful, and badly needed. Please take 5 minutes to complete these actions as soon as you can! 

For the first, join 77 health organizations in calling for public investments that do no harm, decarbonize the US economy, and secure a climate-resilient healthcare system. We’re asking you to use this tool to tweet at or send emails to your members of Congress (< 3min) and amplify the message. Read more about the top climate-and-health investment priorities, which MS4SF has also signed onto, here.

For the second, the Build Back Better plan proposes a critical opportunity for climate action and improvement of equity through the implementation of a clean energy standard, investment in electric vehicles, housing energy efficiency, and more. Please call/email your Congressional representatives as a health professional to express your support for protecting the health of your patients and communities through the climate provisions in the Build Back Better plan. Or consider writing a letter to the editor. Use this tool for additional information and action ideas. *This is especially true if you are a resident of West Virginia or Arizona as we need specific pressure on Senators Manchin and Sinema, respectively!

Finally, join the push to include a carbon price as key Senators hint at the possibility of an equitable carbon fee and dividend similar to the proposals our very own Casey Patnode explained this summer. We’re asking you to use this tool to send 2 emails to President Biden and your Senators (< 3min).

Only a combination of crucial public investments and transformative incentives for the private sector will enable the US to reach targets consistent with avoiding catastrophic warming and do so in a way that protects the vulnerable members of our communities. If you can, please share these tools with your classmates and colleagues.

Thank you for taking action to ensure these bills include the provisions we need to build a healthier, more just, and pollution-free future.

Summer Policy Series

Check out the recordings and one-page summaries from our Summer Policy Series which included presentations on the Green New Deal, Carbon Pricing, and Clean Energy Standards.

Take Action- Ask your congressional representatives to fund climate action

  1. MS4SF’s national health policy partners developed a form that makes it easy to show support for climate & health priorities in the infrastructure budget. Right now, there is a debate underway in Congress on funding for climate action. Health professionals are encouraging policymakers to fund climate solutions that improve health. Please take a few minutes to send a pre-filled form to you representatives. 
  2. Show support for zero-emission school buses. Sign on to the American Lung Association’s letter to congress asking for Federal Investments to Electrify National School Bus Fleet. 

Divestment

Our divestment team is working closely with Insure Our Future and Climate Health Now to call on private health insurance companies in the United States to divest from fossil fuels! 

  • Read this recent op-ed by MS4SF member, Anna Brandes, about why health insurance companies should divest from fossil fuels
  • Join the #divestment channel in Slack or contact Ishaan Shah to get involved in this exciting campaign!

Building a Just MS4SF

Please join our channel on #anti-racism-building-a-just-ms4sf on Slack! This will be a space to discuss equity and anti-racism, in MS4SF and beyond, and to continually work toward a supportive MS4SF community that practices and demands justice!

Line 3 Opposition – Direct Action Opportunity

Line 3 is a violation of treaty rights with the Indigenous peoples of the region it is being constructed in and is infrastructure supporting the fossil fuel industry that is harming our patient’s health. There is ongoing direct action in northern Minnesota opposing Line 3, please attend if able or find other ways to get involved here.

Other Ways to Engage

  • Please watch our Earth Day Video and share our message widely!
  • Please join us in advocating to your elected officials for a rapid transition off fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, leaving nobody behind and building a healthy and just future.
  • Join us to access our advocacy training guide and storytelling guide for MS4SF members!

Advocacy Co-Chairs


Ellen Townley, MS2
Creighton University School of Medicine

David Mazumder, MS3
Harvard Medical School

Ellen Townley is a second-year medical student at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She is passionate about the intersection of climate change and social justice. As an undergraduate student at Creighton, she studied biology and sustainable energy and worked as an advocacy coordinator for the University’s Center for Service and Justice.  As a medical student, she is energized by the collective actions of medical students across the country and hopeful that improvements in environmental sustainability will lead to more just health outcomes.

ellentownley@creighton.edu

David is a fourth year MD-PhD student currently studying for his degree in neuroscience in the Kreiman Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital. Working with epilepsy patients and their clinical teams, he investigates the mechanisms behind human visual memory and mental imagery. David’s personal journal has been interrupted repeatedly, though thankfully briefly, by global warming-fueled natural disasters, and his work with vulnerable communities in Boston during medical school has driven him to action. He has testified at City Council hearings on development and climate-related issues and currently serves as a Senate Liaison for Citizens Climate Lobby. David is excited to keep building our movement’s capacity to translate our lived experiences into powerful narratives and drive policy change.

mazumder.david@gmail.com

Sub Chairs
Legislative Advocacy Chairs

Harrison Goodall, MS3
Emory School of Medicine

Harrison is a third year MD-MPH student at Emory School of Medicine. His background before medicine was rooted in the performing arts, specifically theatre and circus arts. He first stumbled upon advocacy while exploring and researching the ways in which the body has been used in resistance movements domestically and abroad. He has studied and taught dance, theatre, and aerial arts across the world. The ways pollution and climate change were perceived and affected communities he worked with peaked his interest in the intersection of climate change and advocacy. He currently serves as the head of Emory’s Physician for Human Rights chapter, and was a founding member of the Georgia Human Rights Clinic which works with asylum seekers and those in immigrant detention. He remains active in queer organizing around Atlanta and the southeast, and is currently overseeing EJ related projects around the Atlanta area. 

hgoodal@emory.edu

Casey Patnode, MS4
University of Michigan Medical School

Casey is a fourth year MD/MPH student currently earning his MPH in Environmental Health Sciences. He is passionate about addressing climate change as a public health and environmental justice crisis through the urgent policy interventions it requires. He is a former Dow Sustainability Fellow, working with a nonprofit to create a framework for Michigan municipalities to equitably achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. He is also collaborating with a number of organizations, including Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action, on how to make broad-scale changes needed to address this existential threat. He hopes to be a voice in rallying the public to address carbon emissions and protect the health of all and is excited to be working with Medical Students for a Sustainable Future to reach that goal.

Winston McCormick, MS2
Brown University

Winston McCormick is a second year student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2019. Prior to university, he was born and raised in Rome, GA, nestled in the rich biodiversity of the Southern Appalachians. It was here that he first gained an appreciation for environmentalism and conservation. At Brown, with the help of Sarah Hsu, he was able to gain an appreciation for the intersection of environmentalism with healthcare and got involved with Brown’s environmental group. With Brown’s proximity to the Rhode Island State House (let’s be real, everything in RI is close), he was able to advocate for bills in the Rhode Island legislature and came to believe that ingraining environmental principles into law is the most effective means to combat climate change while simultaneously providing opportunity for conservation and justice among historically marginalized communities. 

winston_mccormick@brown.edu

Leah Reichle, MS4
University of Virginia

Leah is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Virginia. She also went to the University of Virginia for her undergraduate studies, where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences. As an undergraduate, she completed research studying spatial and temporal changes in Arctic tundra vegetation. In medical school, she has been active in advocacy organizations like the Medical Society of Virginia and Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action. She helped co-found the UVA chapter of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future and is inspired by the current momentum of climate health movements.

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