1.3 Global Climate and Health Education for Health Professionals

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 17B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kim Knowlton, Columbia Univ., New York, NY; and B. Shea and J. Shaman

Climate change is already fueling more heat, extreme rainfall, sea level rise, air pollution, drought, wildfire, and infectious disease. Projections for future decades suggest that more environmental disruption is coming, and to foster a healthy, well-prepared, global community, it is vital for the next generation of students of all ages— our budding leaders, planners, and health professionals — to become well-versed in connecting the dots between climate change and health.

To address these needs among health professionals, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University created the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, or GCCHE, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation for the first pilot year. The vision for the Consortium is a global network of schools of public health, medicine and nursing that aims to develop an effective forum for schools throughout the world to:

  • Share best scientific and educational practices and design model curricula on the health impacts of climate change for use globally;
  • Develop a core knowledge set on the health impacts of climate change that all graduates of schools of public health, nursing, medicine, and other health professions should possess;
  • Support the development of global academic partnerships to foster mutual learning, particularly in under-resourced countries;
  • Foster the creation of cross-institutional research partnerships that lead to scientific advances that can be shared across nations; and
  • Ensure a cadre of highly trained health professionals to lead on this issue

GCCHE members correspond primarily through emails, periodic conference calls/webinars, and with a web portal. The web portal is hosted at: www.mailman.columbia.edu/gcche. Content will be shared online. A group of international Advisory Council members will gather 1-2 times annually and provide high-level direction and be global ambassadors for the Consortium, providing guidance on members who can expand our reach into other international regions, in particular the Global South, to other organizations, and other sectors. A smaller Coordinating Committee meets every other month to provide an opportunity for more detailed discussion of the steps to develop the specific activities of the Consortium, implementing a global climate-health educational network and creating a living information bank that can help link the diverse landscape of efforts to advance climate change and health curricula globally.

Our goal is to develop ideas for the essential components of a climate-health curriculum, with the flexibility to be regionally adaptable. We will disseminate materials (website, MOOCs, other resources) for multiple audiences, and share information online within a dedicated section of the GCCHE web portal. The GCCHE aims to make first strides toward making health professions schools international flagships of climate and health education, research, and outreach to other sectors of society.

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