This CU Physician Says Climate Change Disproportionately Affects Women’s Health

January 17, 2019
Photo: Cecilia Sorensen Climate Change Health
Dr. Cecilia Sorensen practicing medicine on a recent trip to Ghana.

Increased natural disasters like wildfire and famine are all symptoms of climate change.

One CU Anschutz physician is studying whether those symptoms have a disproportionate impact on women worldwide.

Dr. Cecilia Sorensen travels to Syria, Ghana and other countries to provide medical care--she also researches the impacts of climate change on women. Sorensen talked to Colorado Matters about her work.

When climate refugees flee home because of drought and scarcity, women are put at risk of sex trafficking and disease in order to survive. 

"We know that when women are forced to migrate, they become incredibly vulnerable to all different types of circumstances, including sex trafficking, including violence against them," Sorensen said.

Toxins released when wildfires burn through plastics and other materials also have a stronger affect on women. 

Sorensen wants her research to help cities and other municipalities incorporate women's issues in their climate change and disaster plans, such as specifying a women's-only shelter in the wake of hurricanes.