Medical student works with policymakers on health effects of global climate change


Paul Boutin

Publish date

November 2, 2018


Policy decisions on health care challenges are made at local, state and even international levels.

By opting for a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, USC medical student Anish Parekh aims to develop the skills and experience to work with policymakers on one of those pressing challenges — global warming.

Parekh, a third-year student in the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s dual-degree MD/MPH program, said his goal is to affect public policies to help underrepresented communities deal with the inevitable health effects of climate change.

“I hope to work at a national, or even international scale, because these issues will be global in scope,” he said. “But doctors always work at a local level, too — with patients, local authorities, city municipalities, various departments.”

Parekh said the MD component of his education will be important to making a difference, just as much as dealing with statistics and regulatory structures.

“I read a study that said that the people who are most trusted for information about climate change are doctors — primary care physicians,” he said, echoing a frequent theme at USC’s Health Sciences Campus: that physicians with direct experience with patients have a special credibility not only with patients, but with elected officials.

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