March 10, 2022
New England Journal of Medicine LTE launches “First, Do No Harm” Campaign Call to Action
Decarbonizing the U.S. Health Sector – A Call to Action
Today, a groundbreaking Letter to the Editor was published in the New England Journal of Medicine calling on the US Healthcare sector pensions to divest from fossil fuels in response to this Op-Ed. Read the LTE here.
With this letter to the editor the First, Do No Harm campaign is calling on healthcare institutions across the nation to live up to their fundamental healthcare responsibilities and divest their pension funds from fossil fuels as a global healthcare imperative. As healthcare professionals, we expect our administrators to apply the same ethical parameters to their investment practices as we do, every day, in the care of our patients. “First, Do No Harm.
We therefore call on all hospital investment administrators to establish specific exclusion criteria for oil, gas and coal in the group trust pension plans and retirement funds.
We expect senior hospital administration, senior human resource managers and, certainly, our medical officers to support this as a healthcare imperative.
Our sector must no longer ignore the voluminous research that concludes the specific, severe consequences to public health from fossil fuels and accelerating climate change, including the disproportionate risks to marginalized communities and people of color.
Continued investment in fossil fuels makes these problems worse by providing the substantial capital necessary for the construction of massive fossil fuel infrastructure such as cross-border pipelines, Arctic drilling platforms, and giant offshore deep-sea rigs – which risk locking in increased pollution well into the future, exacerbating the climate crisis and increasing the severity of the associated, ubiquitous health risks for future generations. We cannot accept that from our healthcare institutions.