Profile of the Week: University of Montana Student Chapter of Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate


The University of Montana’s student chapter of Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate (SHPHC) is a group of concerned undergraduate and graduate students in the public or environmental health sciences and pre-health and health professions at the University of Montana. They hope to increase awareness about climate change and the subsequent issues threatening the health of people, wildlife, and communities. They acknowledge that not all populations have the luxury to think about tomorrow, while simultaneously recognizing that due to systemic inequities, disadvantaged populations can suffer disproportionately from the adversities posed by climate change. They strive to protect the health of all populations and relieve the increased burden carried by those who are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of climate change.

Currently, UM SHPHC is working on a research project to learn about the benefits of electronic air purifiers. Missoula, Montana received an “F” as their grade from the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2021 Report- ranking Missoula as one of the 25 most populated cities in America for short-term as well as year-round pollution based on particulate matter in the air from 2017-2019. Particle pollution during this time was estimated to place the health of more than 50% of Montana residents at risk, including people more vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution (e.g. older adults and people with lung and heart disease). To help alleviate this problem, they are currently working with local climate action planning and preparedness organization Climate Smart Missoula on an initiative to distribute indoor air purifiers to Missoula residents 65 years of age and older with such health issues. They predict the intervention will improve indoor air quality for these community members and plan to measure its impact through research. They hope the results of this research study will be used to build our base knowledge about these benefits and may be presented to fellow researchers to further protect and enhance the health of Montanans against the changing climate.

Please visit the following website for more information on the parent organization Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate:

Evidence Based Research:
Age, pre-existing medical conditions and social deprivation are found to be some of the most important factors that make people vulnerable to adverse health outcomes related to the impact of climate change. In the future, progressed climate changes, aging population and decreasing public spending on health and social care may aggravate inequality of health outcomes related to climate change. Health education and public preparedness measures that take into account differential exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of different groups help address health and social inequalities to do with climate change.

For more information: please reference the following article