The United States health care sector is responsible for 10 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases and Natasha Wasim is passionate about changing that. A student in the Yale School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, she first met an epidemiologist in high school. That led to undergraduate work in both public health science and policy. Now a master’s candidate, she is enhancing her interest in sustainability and occupational health in the health care sector by also pursuing the Regulatory Affairs Track and serving as a Climate Change and Health Initiative fellow.
Natasha is also a research assistant with Yale Sustainability, where she is working on green clinical practices. After interviewing a number of physicians and medical students, she discovered that waste is not high on their minds. Waste, for example, is also unavoidable when clinicians are issued “toolkits” for standard procedures. They may only use one item in the kit, but it is not cost-effect to sterilize and repackage these supplies, so they are thrown out. Where we can be effective now, says Natasha is in reformulating surgical kits in the planning and purchasing level. “We also can have an impact on waste management and clarifying what needs to go into a “red bag” for hazardous waste and what can be triple rinsed and recycled.” In addition, Natasha works as a Social Media Producer for the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication developing content that models the connection between health and climate.
The coursework in regulatory affairs says Natasha is especially valuable in developing a business minded approach to environmental health and sustainability.