Code Green: Burnout, Climate Change and Equity

Welcome to summer. Let’s take a step back and enjoy a year of sustainable healthcare coverage in one pass.


The graph above shows the 1,553 storieseach represented by a point, published since last June that our software has taken over.

  • X axis: Number of media editing the story
  • Y axis: Number of social media posts sharing this story
  • The colors represent the thematic groups.

Note that both axes are logarithmic.

Focus this week on the upper right quadrant: Stories that have proven popular with media editors and social media users.

  • They were seen and shared, and they drove conversations.

Three main themes dominated the most read and shared stories:

  1. Staff burnout and shortage (red dots)
  2. Climate change (purple)
  3. Health care inequity (teal)

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Burnout and climate change

The big red dot, with some 27,000 media shares, is a Texas Tribune article from August about the acute shortage of healthcare workers in Texas amid staff burnout and a surge of Covid-19. It’s not just Texas: Many red dots representing staffing-driven stories are found in this most popular quadrant.

What we find encouraging is the number of purple dots in this quadrant, representing stories focused on climate change – like this article by ABC News National Correspondent Chris Conte about doctors integrating climate change into their practices .

It’s set to become a more frequent topic for health care around the world, with reports this week alone of more than 1,000 people hospitalized in Iraq as dust storms ravaged the Middle East.

Inequality in health care

health care equity coverage

Equally encouraging is the plethora of teal in the upper quadrant of the chart. Each one represents a story about inequity in health care, like this one Stateline September article on how pandemic health inequalities highlight the need for better obesity prevention.

Stick with us on that last point, because Environmental Health Sciences will be hosting a conference this fall on obesogens — hormone-hijacking compounds in medical and consumer products that alter our body chemistry and contribute to obesity.

Overall, we’d say the coverage trend suggests the media and public are moving away from the intense focus on PPE and Covid that we’ve seen in the healthcare sustainability space since the start of the pandemic.

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Teresa H. Sadler