Climate and health in health education
The group focuses on creating awareness among future and current health professionals about the complex interlinkages between climate and health and engage students in innovative thinking about how to contribute to a greener health care system which is resilient to a changing climate.
About the group
Climate and environmental change is one of the greatest societal challenges of our time. But it is also one of the biggest threats to public health, both now and in the future. Climate change have led to rising temperatures, heatwaves, natural disasters, reduced food and water safety, increasing air pollution, resulting in acute and chronic illness as well as disruption to health and care services across the world.
Moreover, climate change and environmental threats strike hardest at those communities who are already exposed to disease and death (children, ethnic minorities and indigenous groups, vulnerable elderly and people living in poor conditions), and are as such closely related to social inequity and injustice.
The health service's own contribution to climate change is significant: if the global health sector was a country, it would be the world's 5th largest emission generator of greenhouse gases.
The health system will need to respond by prioritizing prevention and health promotion work, choosing less emission-generating solutions and reducing overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
In sum, we must create sustainable health and care systems that offer high-quality treatment without depriving future generations from the opportunity to benefit from good health and healthcare. Health professionals are the backbone of health and care systems and stand at the frontline as climate change and environmental damage causes harm to health.
A cross-disciplinary approach is necessary to solve these major challenges. The health sector also has an important role in helping other sectors maximise the health benefits as society needs to rapidly reduce climate gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
One of the main ambitions of SHE, which is reflected in a series of activities, is to create awareness among future and current health professionals about the complex interlinkages between climate and health and involve students in innovative thinking about how to contribute to a greener health care system which is resilient to a changing climate.