Doctors for the Environment Australia: achievements and lessons learned

David J C Shearman and William M Castleden
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (11): 684. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01352

Political ideology has proved to be the greatest obstacle to DEA's ability to reduce the health hazards of climate change

Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), created in 2002, aimed “to utilise the skills of members of the medical profession to address the ill health resulting from damage to the natural environment at local, national and global levels”.1 This agenda was overwhelming, and with humanity's astonishing failure to stop the rise of greenhouse gas emissions and the gathering pace of climate change, DEA has focused on the medical threats of climate change. As a medical organisation, DEA was a frontrunner in its forthright recognition of this problem, which the World Health Organization now regards as the defining health issue of our time. DEA maintains that the established medical colleges and organisations need to speak out more strongly about the health hazards of climate change.

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  • David J C Shearman1,2
  • William M Castleden2,3

  • 1 Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Doctors for the Environment Australia, Adelaide, SA.
  • 3 Department of Vascular Surgery, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, WA.



We acknowledge the work of longstanding members of the DEA's Scientific Advisory Committee, the help of the late Tony McMichael and of Fiona Stanley and Peter Doherty, and the contributions of Sarah Morton, Grant Blashki, Colin Butler and John Stokes in the DEA's early days, as well as Michael Kidd and Kingsley Faulkner, subsequent Chairs of DEA.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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