SXU Nursing Professor Contributes to "Let's Talk Climate"
Saint Xavier University (SXU) adjunct nursing professor Gloria Barrera, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN, recently contributed to ecoAmerica's "Let's Talk Climate" series. On this episode, Climate for Health Director Rebecca Rehr had a conversation with Barrera and Jerome Paulson, M.D., about engaging their peers, community and policymakers on climate action. Barrera, whose passion is public health nursing, is an American Climate Leadership Summit (ACLS) Climate Scholar and newly appointed National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) liaison to Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE).
Barrera, who is also an SXU alumna, initially got involved in Climate for Health in 2014, when she was flown to Washington, D.C. to speak to lawmakers about the health impact on methane emissions. Since then, she's made it a priority to raise awareness within the organizations she's involved in to protect the most vulnerable populations, carrying the Saint Xavier mission of serving the underserved with her in all her work.
"Our understanding of healthy environments being vital to optimal health can be traced back to Florence Nightingale and her work with the physical environment of her patients. Climate change is the biggest public health threat we're facing today, aside from COVID-19. Climate change affects many of the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. We know that climate change makes us sick," said Barrera.
Barrera encourages the SXU community to do their part to promote change. "Our students, staff, faculty and community have the power to significantly impact climate change and make a difference. For example, I've joined the Nurses Drawdown Movement and have committed to eating a more climate-friendly diet by limiting my meat consumption to less than twice a week," said Barrera.
Barrera reminds SXU nursing students that they play a significant role in helping to impact climate change, so she addresses critical issues related to the environment and climate change within her nursing courses and uses her experience in advocacy to bring research to life. "As the most trusted profession in the country, nurses are in a unique position to amplify their voices and take direct action on climate change," said Barrera.