This story comes from NPR’s Next Generation Radio project:
While working at UT Health San Antonio as a nurse, Adelita Cantu said she learned that health care goes beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics.
Cantu wanted to help people before they came to the hospital, so she became a public health educator who teaches future nurses not only about how to take vitals and administer medications, but also about the connection between climate change and health.
After spending two decades as a nurse at the medical center, Cantu became an assistant professor at the school’s nursing program. Since 2002, she’s been balancing working in the hospital and educating the next generation of nurses.
Cantu said it’s important to her that students understand the role climate change has in the well-being of communities.
“Public health looks at everything in our environment, everything that surrounds us [has] an impact on our health,” Cantu said. “So nursing students, they need to be experts on treating people in the hospital, treating people in clinics, but also understand that there are other things in the environment that also impact that health state.”