WSU part of White House health and climate change discussion

By Alli Benjamin, College of Nursing

Patricia-Butterfield-webSPOKANE, Wash. – Leaders in medicine, nursing and public health who recently participated in a White House roundtable on the health impacts of climate change included Patricia Butterfield, dean emerita and professor at Washington State University College of Nursing.

The discussion – part of a series of National Public Health Week announcements led by President Obama – concluded with the leaders signing a Public Health and Climate Change Commitment statement.

Butterfield joined deans of nursing from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Emory University and the University of Maryland. The roundtable included deans from seven medical schools and seven schools of public health.

They met with senior administration officials to discuss educating tomorrow’s health leaders on the impacts of climate change.

“Nursing is the largest and most trusted health care profession,” Butterfield said. “This group has the ability to help raise awareness and educate the public about health-related issues linked to climate change.

“As a public health nurse, I am pleased to see that the discussion around climate change has been connected to public health, and that our government recognizes the importance of this,” she said. “If we aren’t taking care of the environment, we are not taking care of ourselves.”

“Having our campus represented alongside so many wonderful universities shows our commitment to this issue,” said WSU Spokane Health Sciences Chancellor Lisa Brown. “I’m proud that our College of Nursing is working to improve public health in innovative ways.”

The White House cited several side effects of increased temperatures including increased smog, longer allergy seasons and increased incidence of extreme-weather injuries.

The leaders participating in the White House roundtable are responsible for educating the nation’s next generation of health professionals and ensuring that they are prepared to address the health risks their patients and communities face.


Allison Benjamin, WSU College of Nursing communications, 509-324-7340, text/cell 509-230-3520,