HPHC in the News

August 5, 2021
by Rachel Kerr

What we’ve been experiencing statewide isn’t just a little bit of air pollution. It is a prolonged period of the worst air quality Minnesota has ever experienced. As a nurse specializing in environmental health, I am both deeply concerned for the health of the residents of my state and frustrated by the lack of coordinated statewide and local responses to this slow-moving, smoky health crisis.

August 5, 2021
Minnesota Reformer
by Aarti Bhatt, Prasanna Vankina, Michael Westerhaus

As physicians, our duty is to protect the health of all Minnesotans, now and for the future. As daily witnesses to the importance of clean air, water, and land to human health, we are deeply distressed about the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline currently under construction across our state and through 1855 Treaty lands.

On July 20, we traveled to northern Minnesota to better understand the efforts of Indigenous-led water protectors, who tirelessly worked for seven years through legal and political channels to prevent Line 3’s construction, and why they are now risking arrest — and their lives.

July 30, 2021
by Greta Kaul

In the last couple weeks, Minnesota has been visited periodically by a heavy cloud of haze, courtesy of smoke from wildfires up near Canada, borne south on the wind.

Since hazy air like this is expected all weekend and into next week MinnPost asked Teddie Potter, director of planetary health at the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing, some questions we’ve been hearing about how to stay healthy on bad air days.


June 29, 2021
Al Jazeera
by Hilary Beaumont

A total of 788 workers building Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through the US state of Minnesota have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data obtained by Al Jazeera from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

In November, more than 200 healthcare workers and Indigenous tribal leaders petitioned Governor Tim Walz to issue an emergency stay on construction until after vaccines were widely available. But Walz allowed the project to go ahead.

Brenna Doheny, executive director of Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, spearheaded the petition to prevent a surge of COVID cases in rural areas, where hospital capacity is severely limited. She called the governor’s decision “disappointing and frustrating” because the state had previously listened to healthcare workers.

May 15, 2021
by Mary Owen, Michael Westerhaus, Amy Finnegan, Laalitha Surapaneni, Winona LaDuke

Health-care workers often conceptualise addressing the social and structural determinants of health as working upstream.

In response to the racial disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement for Black Lives, health systems are acknowledging systemic racism, promoting implicit bias training, and screening for the social determinants of health. Although welcome, these changes will not achieve the social transformation necessary to eliminate health inequities. We must move even further upstream.

Water Protectors, working upstream on the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota, USA, provide a model of what this work entails.

February 28, 2021
Star Tribune
by Mike Menzel

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued an air quality alert last month that air pollution from fine particles would be at dangerous levels for a few days…. Minnesota is having many more of these air-quality-alert days. The alarms are going off for Minnesotans to support the Clean Cars Minnesota rule.

January 27, 2021
Minnesota House of Representatives Session Daily
by Rachel Kats

Is the conversation about COVID-19 drowning out discussion of climate change? It may sometimes seem that way, but nine testifiers at a joint meeting Wednesday said issues of public health and climate change go hand in hand.

December 4, 2020
The Guardian
by Emily Holden

Advocates and Native tribes, who have fought the proposal for years, have renewed complaints amid a coronavirus surge

December 2, 2020
Star Tribune
by Brooks Johnson and Shannon Prather

Health professionals and northern Minnesota residents pleaded with Gov. Tim Walz to halt construction of Enbridge’s controversial $2.6 billion oil pipeline, saying the project will draw thousands of out-of-state workers who could accelerate the spread of COVID-19.

December 1, 2020
The Phoenix
by Laalitha Surapaneni

When people ask me, “What got you interested in climate change?”, I often think back to a newspaper cartoon I saw as a child that’s stuck with me since. The cartoon was of a man chopping the branch that he was sitting on. A concept so simple even a child could grasp: our wellbeing as humans is linked to our planet’s wellbeing.

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