Teaching and learning on sustainable healthcare
The key learning outcomes for sustainable healthcare
- Describe how the environment and human health interact at different levels
- Demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to improve the environmental sustainability of health systems
- Discuss how the duty of a doctor to protect and promote health is shaped by the dependence of human health on the local and global environment
Education on sustainable health and healthcare can therefore be framed as understanding how the environment impacts on health (eg air pollution as a risk factor for respiratory disease), the impact of healthcare on the environment (eg the carbon footprint of prescribing), ways to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare (eg lower carbon inhalers) and health promotion strategies (eg physical activity to improve mental health).
The General Medical Council Outcomes for Graduates state that: “Newly qualified doctors must be able to apply the principles, methods and knowledge of population health and the improvement of health and sustainable healthcare to medical practice”.
Undergraduate curriculum at BSMS
Teaching on sustainable health and healthcare in the undergraduate curriculum includes:
- ‘Environment and Health’ in year 1 which looks at the interactions between the environment and health using air pollution and food as examples
- ‘Sustainable Healthcare’ in year 2 which examines the impact of healthcare on the environment and ways in which healthcare can be made more sustainable
- ‘Environment and Health’ in the Global health day in year 4
Further teaching on sustainable healthcare is in development for years 3 and 4.
The SHARE conference, organised jointly between University of Brighton School of Health Sciences and BSMS, is an annual conference which aims to share good practice between healthcare professionals, students and service users on topics related to sustainability and health and healthcare practice. Read more about the conference via the link below.
Read more about the conference here >
Green Medicine Society
The BSMS Green Medicine Society is a student-run organisation that raises awareness of the impact that climate change has on health and also the impact that healthcare has on climate change and the wider environment, as well as looking at ways to make healthcare more sustainable. They run talks, seminars, workshops and extracurricular events to promote medical student engagement in planetary health. If you would like to join or get involved, please contact the society at email@example.com or follow them on social media.