Nicole Redvers brings Indigenous perspectives to WHO advisory group appointment

By Cam Buchan

inset-redvers-nicole_400x500.pngClimate change has damaged the health and homeland of the Deninu K’ue First Nation in the Northwest Territories, the home of Nicole Redvers, MD, MPH.

The associate professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry knows her community – and indeed Indigenous communities around the world – have suffered its effects at three to four times the global rate.

Now, Redvers has been appointed to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Technical Advisory Group on Embedding Ethics in Health and Climate Change Policy. As one of 13 members, she will help deliver a range of tools, materials and evidence-based insights to address this worldwide challenge.

“There are many different ethical dimensions that come into the conversation around climate change and health. What obligation do we as humans have in considering the environment as part of our health and what does that look like when it comes to ethical policy development?” said Redvers, who is also Western Research Chair and director of Indigenous Planetary Health.

The 13 members of the TAG represent a range of technical expertise, geographical representation and gender balance. The group’s goal is to better navigate the ethical issues surrounding policy development in areas, such as Africa, Asia, and South and Central America as well as Indigenous communities, that have been inequitably affected by climate change.

“Thankfully, there has been greater interest and awareness of the importance of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledges as part of the climate change discussion,” said Redvers “Because of that, I’m grateful and looking forward to bringing in Indigenous community perspectives to that dialogue because we have very clear ethical guidelines.”

The advisory group will hold its first meeting in January.

“One of the prime goals is bringing in the ethical dialogue into the climate change and health space, which, frankly, have just not been there,” said Redvers, who is part of several initiatives on climate change.

In May 2023, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry joined several other medical schools in Canada in signing the Academic Health Institutions’ Declaration on Planetary Health, launched by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC). Redvers is co-chair of AFMC’s Committee on Planetary Health.