Monday Keynote to Address Climate Change and Health

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a programming change, Mary Rice, MD, MPH, and Kevin Cromar, PhD, were the featured speakers for the Sunday Keynote: A Conversation on Climate Change and Health with ATS Experts.

The Keynote Series continues Monday, May 22, with a discussion with the leader of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Air That I Breathe: Climate Change and Health: A Conversation with EPA Administrator Michael Regan will take place from 8–8:45 a.m. ET in the West Salon G-I (Street Level) of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Michael Regan
Michael Regan

“Our physicians and policymakers need the most accurate information available in order to make informed decisions to protect public health,” Administrator Regan said. “That’s why scientists at EPA and elsewhere have been working diligently to better understand what our changing climate means for air quality and our nation’s respiratory health.”

In April, the EPA released a report quantifying several potential effects of climate change on U.S. children. A warming climate will affect pollution already in the air and exacerbate sources of pollution such as smoke from wildfires and airborne dust from drought-stricken soils, Administrator Regan explained. The report also projects a substantial increase in asthma incidence among children, with Black and Latino children experiencing the greatest burden of risk.

“Physicians are among the most trusted communicators of health information in this country, working on the front lines of respiratory illness and disease stemming from poor air quality,” Administrator Regan said. “With this in mind, we continue to engage the medical community to encourage clinicians to educate their patients on the importance of checking local air quality (by using, for example) and to use this information to protect themselves and their loved ones. It is crucial for policymakers at the EPA and at the state level to connect with the medical community to understand what clinicians are seeing on the ground as we seek to implement programs and policies to safeguard public health.”

Administrator Regan has led the EPA since 2021. He previously served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. In that position, he launched the state’s initiative to address climate change with a transition to a clean energy economy and established a first-of-its-kind Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board to coordinate efforts to address social inequities, environmental protection, and community empowerment. Administrator Regan also served as the associate vice president of U.S. Climate and Energy and as southeast regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund.

ATS President Gregory P. Downey, MD, ATSF, will facilitate the session.

The Keynote Series addresses timely topics of high relevance to the respiratory medicine community with special presentations before the start of the scientific sessions Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday at the International Conference. The featured lecturers are leaders who have made major contributions to the important themes highlighted by this year’s conference program. Other installments in the series include:

Don’t Miss On-Demand Highlights

Unable to attend every session of interest at the ATS 2023 International Conference? Or couldn’t join us in Washington, DC? Access some of the conference’s best content through the ATS 2023 On-Demand Highlights platform, available this summer. It will include more than 100 scientific and clinical symposia, including Keynote sessions, Clinical Year in Review, and Adult and Pediatric Core Curriculum.