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House Preventive Health Division holds hearing on the impacts of Climate Change on Public Health

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Preventive Health Division held an informational hearing on the impacts of climate change on public health. Members of the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee also joined to hear testimony from a range of medical and climate professionals.

“The science around climate change is sound, and today’s hearing provided a public health lens for the impacts we’re already seeing in our state,” said Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL - Golden Valley), chair of the Preventive Health Division. “From the length of hay fever season to the waterborne illnesses brought on by floods, there are a multitude of direct and indirect effects on public health that have been brought on by climate change. I hope that today’s informational hearing can lead to responsive legislation that Minnesota - the fastest warming state in the nation - needs to combat this pressing public health threat.”

Legislators heard testimony from Kristin Raab, Climate & Health Program Director at the Minnesota Department of Health; Dr. Teddie Potter, Director of Planetary Health for the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Nyasha Spears, a Family Medicine Specialist at Duluth Family Doctors; Dr. Zeke McKinney, a faculty physician with HealthPartners; Dr. Phillip Peterson, an Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School; Dr. Christie Manning, Director of Sustainability at Macalester College; Dr. Anthony Moulton, from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Laalitha Surapaneni, from the University of Minnesota and Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate; and J. Drake Hamilton, the Science Policy Director at Fresh Energy.

“The climate crisis is harming Minnesotans’ physical and mental health, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities,” said Rep. Jamie Long (DFL - Minneapolis), chair of the Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee. “As our climate changes, we will continue to see greater rates of asthma, allergies, heat-related illnesses, and other health risks. We must take action to protect those who are already experiencing these threats and ensure future generations of Minnesotans can lead long, healthy lives.” 

Additional information, including supporting materials and presentation slides from testifiers, is available on the House Preventive Health Division’s webpage. Video recording of today’s hearing will be made available on the House Public Information YouTube channel