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e-Panel Survey Summary

Climate Change and Health

Synopsis

The CMA surveyed its members to learn more about their views on climate change and health as well as the CMA’s role in addressing the issue. The results provide a picture of the importance of climate change in relation to other CMA policy issues, awareness of current CMA climate change policy initiatives, and where CMA should allocate its resources to address climate change and health. A summary of the results of the survey is presented below.

Survey – November 2015

The survey was sent to 4,587 CMA members; 419 responded, for a response rate of 9%.

Results

Survey results indicate that respondents’ awareness of current CMA climate change activities is low, but most feel that CMA’s involvement in climate change is important. Overall, climate change and health is seen as an important issue; however, it is viewed as less important in relation to other CMA policy issues. Importance of Climate Change

Respondents were asked to select the top three policy issues they felt are most important for CMA to focus on (see below). Seniors care was the most selected, at 56%, while climate change came sixth at 35 %. Most respondents felt that it was important for CMA to focus on climate change and health, with 72% feeling it was somewhat or very important.

Respondents were also asked about their interest in the impact of the environment on human health; 87% of respondents stated that they were somewhat or very interested.

Awareness of Climate Change and Health

Respondents knowledge about the impact of climate change on human health varied, with 9% being very knowledgeable, 48% somewhat knowledgeable, 21% neutral, 20% not very knowledgeable, and 2% not at all knowledgeable.

Awareness of CMA’s policy activities related to climate change and health was low, with 76% being either not very aware or not aware at all.

Areas of Focus for CMA

Most respondents (72%) felt that CMA should focus its activity on the impact of climate change and health at the national level, with 30% selecting international and provincial, and 20% selecting local.

In terms of areas of climate change to address, 39% felt that food, water, and soil contamination were most important, while 35% of respondents selected global warming as most important.

Respondents felt that the CMA should focus its climate change work on advocacy to governments (66%); awareness, education, and resources for physicians (57%); and awareness and education for the public (56%).

Finally, 74% of respondents are supportive of CMA dedicating resources to ensure it uses green power in its facilities.

Next Steps

The CMA will use the feedback from the respondents, as well as key takeaways from climate change discussions at its 149th Annual Meeting and General Council, to inform its actions and prioritization of the issues of climate change.

Respondents told us

“I'm happy to see this survey. It's about time doctors became more involved with health on a "macro" level. I believe climate change is the single greatest threat to human health today and so far, the medical profession has been virtually silent on the issue. Please change this!”

“The CMA should invest resources in supporting and reinforcing messages of organizations that are doing work re: climate change. The CMA should not duplicate efforts made by experts who are focussing on the issue.”

“I think it's difficult to define a single priority for the CMA with regards to the issues mentioned. Air pollution, contamination of water and the food stream, and impact of climate change on health are all equally important and deserve attention from the CMA in the forms of resources and education of physicians as well as advocacy and lobbying of governments to act in a way that promotes public health and health of the environment.”

“CMA’s resources are finite and although this topic has important aspects, it is a stretch to see that it is a higher priority than a number of other issues closer to the CMA’s core mandates.”