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921 - 11/21/2020 8:48:11 AM  

COVID, Climate & Kid's Helath

Public health experts raise alarm at climate risks to children’s health in marginalized communities.

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2020 

Many children in Canada - and Guelph - live with inequities that make them more vulnerable to climate change. 

Our most marginalized populations are especially susceptible to climate-related physical and mental health impacts. By worsening existing inequities, climate change can put children from marginalized groups at greater risk from asthma, heat illness, anxiety and depression. And children from the lowest income neighborhoods in Canada are hospitalized for asthma 1.5 times more than those from the highest income neighborhoods.

Public health experts also know that the risk isn’t equal across and within communities.

"No child should have to suffer these negative health impacts from climate change and the inequities that put them at even greater risk. " Said Pegeen Walsh, Executive Director for the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA). "Solutions to address this already exist." She continued.

The Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) is working with eMERGE Guelph and other diverse leaders and organizations to bring collective experiences, knowledge, and ideas to tackle the challenge of climate change and inequity.

" Inequities such as poverty and racial discrimination, that put marginalized communities at greater COVID-19 risk, are the same inequities that put them at greater climate risk" said Evan Ferrari, Executive Director of eMERGE.  

The Make It Better campaign, by OPHA, iprovides research and information to parents, caregivers, health professionals and community organizations on how climate change impacts children’s health and the increased risk for marginalized groups.  The initiative also shares resources, tips, and ways to take action in their communities through partners such as climate networks, environmental and social justice groups and local public health units.

Join the OPHA and eMERGE Guelph as they host this virtual event:

Climate, COVID and Kids’ Health in Marginalized Communities
THURSDAY , NOV. 26, 2020
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM



About the OPHA
Created in 1949, the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that brings together a broad spectrum of groups and individuals concerned about people’s health. Members are united by OPHA’s mission of providing leadership on issues affecting the public’s health and strengthening the impact of people who are active in public and community health throughout Ontario.

This mission is achieved through professional development, information and analysis on issues affecting community and public health, access to multidisciplinary networks, education and awareness activities around healthy public policy, and the provision of expertise and consultation. Through their involvement in OPHA’s workgroups, networks and constituent societies, OPHA members have been leading change on a wide range of issues - climate change, air quality, poverty reduction, food security, supporting children and families, tobacco control, diabetes prevention, increased access to oral health care, immunization, healthy eating and nutrition, and designing walkable communities, among others.
About eMERGE
eMERGE Guelph Sustainability fights climate change to build a healthier society. It does this by engaging, and equipping Guelphites to transition to a 100% renewable energy (100RE) economy. It uses the narrative of achieving 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 as a positive goal to win this battle. This is done primarily by helping people reduce energy and water use through an individual residential focus along with community events, outreach and engagement that promote smart behavior, policy and improved efficiency to help Guelph build a road map to beat climate change and achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Background on Main Speaker:
Pegeen Walsh
Ontario Public Health Association
As Executive Director for the OPHA, Pegeen's  role requires supporting and facilitating advocacy efforts in public health and capacity building and knowledge transfer and exchange initiatives within the province and beyond.

Prior to OPHA, Pegeen has led the design and delivery of a wide range of programs, policies, partnerships, and research that have supported individual and community health and well-being. As Ontario Regional Director with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Director at the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, she oversaw various health initiatives ranging from early child development, healthy eating, and tobacco control, healthy communities to injury, alcohol abuse and 2008 Ontario Public Health Standards.

As Director of Public Policy at YMCA Canada, she developed government relations training and strategies. Just prior to joining OPHA, Pegeen was a Research Director at the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships responsible implementing research strategy to advance knowledge and best practices. Pegeen is also a Board member at Family Services Toronto, serving as chair of its Governance Committee. She holds a BA degree from University of Waterloo in Political Science.


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