Objective.—Little is known about health care provider interest, knowledge, and beliefs regarding the health effects of human-induced environmental degradation (HIED). A survey was created and distributed to better characterize health provider beliefs about the adverse health effects of HIED.
Methods.—An invitation to participate in an online 24-question survey was e-mailed to 2177 members of the Wilderness Medical Society to characterize experience with health effects of HIED, types of health effects attributed to HIED, attitudes toward HIED, and educational sources about HIED. Data were analyzed from 665 responses, a response rate of 35%.
Results.—Results demonstrate that health care providers identify a large number and variety of health effects associated with HIED, although exacerbation of asthma, reactive airways disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were most commonly identified. Over 80% report that HIED has affected the health of a patient they have cared for; 60% report patients have asked about HIED effects on health; and 93% report that they do not distribute information to patients about HIED. Over 75% of respondents believe there is an unfulfilled need for information and education about the adverse health effects of HIED. Respondents report continuing medical education, journal articles, and medical schools/residency programs as the best methods for education and for raising awareness of the health effects of HIED.
Conclusions.—Results indicate strong health professional belief in health effects of HIED, patient concern related to the health effects of HIED, and a need to educate both health care providers and patients on the adverse health effects of HIED.