Article Title

Preparing Australasian medical students for environmentally sustainable health care

Abstract

Climate change and environmental degradation are harming the health of Australians and New Zealanders and pose a serious challenge to our health care systems.1, 2 The World Health Organization in 2019 identified climate change and air pollution as the top threat to human health globally;3 a threat clearly visible in the sustained air pollution over south-eastern Australia from bushfire smoke during the 2019–20 bushfire season. The health consequences of the bushfires and the associated prolonged, hazardous air quality prompted the Australian Medical Association and three medical colleges to declare climate change a public health emergency.4 Health care systems also contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. In Australia, health care contributes 7% of the country’s total carbon emissions and produces considerable waste which is either incinerated or sent to landfill.5 Despite these environmental challenges, there has been little response by medical programs to prepare medical graduates to manage the health impacts of climate change, and to practise environmentally sustainable health care. In 2018, we described an initiative to support medical educators and medical student organisations to work collaboratively to develop proposed learning objectives, curricula and learning resources addressing the health effects of climate change.6 This article describes the development of the model graduate outcome statements and learning objectives which have been shared with all medical schools in Australasia.

Keywords

Climate change, Global warming, Curriculum, Medical education

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.5694/mja2.51439

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