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Media release

September 18th 2019

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) today stressed its support for Friday’s climate strikes in the wake of The Australian article: Minister Rebukes Medical Students on Climate Strike.

“Climate change poses one of the biggest threats to health that we will see in our lifetimes,” AMSA President, Ms Jessica Yang, said.

“Representatives from all of Australia’s 22 medical schools agreed unanimously to make mitigating health consequences from climate change a national advocacy priority.”

In the article, Minister Tehan drew attention to the workforce maldistribution in Australia’s rural and remote communities and encouraged medical students to focus their attention on this problem.

“AMSA considers many issues concerning health and medical education, climate change and rural health being but two of these,” Ms Yang said.

“We thank Minister Tehan for keeping rural health at the forefront of our minds, as it is a massive focus for AMSA. In fact, this weekend is our annual Rural Health Summit in Cairns, which celebrates the unique nature of medicine in rural Australia and supports medical students to pursue a career in this area.

“Climate change and rural health are interlinked issues. The negative health effects of water scarcity and significant weather events disproportionately impact remote communities, whose hospitals and healthcare systems may not be equipped to handle the climate crisis.

“Being a doctor is more than diagnosing and treating illness. It is about prevention, which - as medical students are taught from day one - is better than cure. Climate change is a public health issue just like antibiotic resistance, smoking, or lack of doctors in rural areas,” Ms Yang said.

AMSA Code Green encourages medical students to appropriately demonstrate their beliefs about climate change at the climate strikes this Friday.

AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, many of whom will be seen on the streets of capital cities for the upcoming climate strikes.

Media contact:

AMSA 2019 Public Relations Officer

Madeleine Goss