Dr. Andrea MacNeill and colleagues’ recent paper in Lancet Planetary Health (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2542519617301626?via%3Dihub) created local and global headlines. This paper and subsequent work highlight the key role of surgery and health care in the global response to the climate crisis, and continue to shape health policy at home and around the world. Dr. MacNeill’s work is also a defining example of creativity and progress on the frontiers of surgical thought and action.
Excerpt from ROSCOE Issue 2:
Former Program Director’s Note
In the fall of 2010, when I was a new general surgery resi - dency program director, a superstar second year resident came to my office to discuss her plans for her research year. In every way — knowledge, skill, professionalism — Andrea MacNeill was already on her way to becoming an excellent surgeon, and I thought I could predict the path she might follow, based on the examples I had seen in the past. Except, she came to me with an idea that I could never have imagined on my own. With her usual poise and conviction, she outlined a plan to go to Oxford University to study Environmental Change and Management. I remember that moment well. Sitting across from her near a window with a view of English Bay, the glass skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver, and the Coast Mountains and blue sky beyond, I somehow couldn’t think of a single connection between surgery and the environment, and I tried desperately in those long sec - onds to find ways to redirect her talent. But her passion for both surgery and the environment were clear and urgent, and we ultimately decided to support her plan. That was the moment when she embarked on a jour - ney that would take her to operating rooms around the world, to laundry chutes, garbage bins, electrical meters and ventilation ducts, and ultimately to the develop - ment of a powerful method to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from operating rooms. It was a journey that taught us to see sustainability as both a personal and a global issue. It showed us beyond a doubt that creativ - ity and idealism have a place in surgery, and that these things in fact sustain us and shape the future of surgery. Andrea MacNeill’s story is about the intersection of disciplines and about passion that leads to creativity, and her work and writing are both a reminder of our responsibility and influence, and an inspiring call to action.