WONCA Working Party on the Environment Update

A letter from A/Prof Grant Blashki, new chair of the WONCA Working party on the environment to those interested in the group's activities.

We are very pleased to have you involved in the Environmental Working Party of WONCA.

It is a crucial time for the environment as human activities stretch the capacity of a number of the earth’s natural systems to their finite boundaries. For example, the climate, air quality, water quality, food security and other basic support systems for sustaining human health are under threat.

So as a family doctor, you bring immense experience of your local communities, a deep understanding of complex systems and an ability to communicate complex scientific ideas to the general public. So your role, in what has been termed the critical decade for the environment, is very important.

We had an excellent productive meeting in Prague at the WONCA 2013 conference and did some planning for this next triennium to identify some issues that we feel we can make some real contribution to over the next three years. The three major areas we will focus on are:
1) Climate change and health,
2) Workers health and
3) Radiation and health.

Of course this doesn't exclude us getting involved in other issues but we felt that it was important to give some focus to the next threeyears.

As a member of the Environmental Working Party, we will send you a 3 monthly update e-mail to keep you abreast of our current activities. We welcome your feedback and input at any time. You can see more about us on our webpage.  You can join our discussion forum on the WONCA website (email [email protected]) or you can simply email the chair [email protected]

How can you assist us? We are making an ebook called "Family Doctors in the Field -Stories from Environmental Family Doctors from across the Globe" and are planning to launch this mid 2014. If you would like to contribute to the book, please let me know. We are looking for short pieces, about 750 words, about your work relating to environmental issues in your country. You don’t have to be an author or academic or even an environmental hero to contribute! You might even be a training family doctor– we would love to hear from you.

In addition to this, our Working Party Management Committee is developing some policy statements that will be passed on to the WONCA executive. These type of statements are very important even though they sometimes seem obvious or like motherhood proclamations. In fact these statements can carry much weight at a high level when the WONCA executive adopts them and promotes them as WONCA policy. They can make a real difference. So we will keep you up to date on the development of these, which in the first instance will cover our three main themes.

I look forward to working with you during this important time for the environment and health.
Kind regards

A/ Prof Grant Blashki
Nossal Institute for Global Health
The University of Melbourne
Chair of Environmental Working Party,
World Organisation of Family Doctors