Climate change, which has broad reaching consequences on health and the provision of healthcare, is a major global health issue that we, as future health professionals, have a responsibility to learn about and engage with.
Environmental Sustainability Position
Given the impact of climate change on health, one of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) Global Health Program’s national initiatives in 2016/2017 was to work with the Health & Environment Adaptive Response Taskforce (HEART) to create champions of medical sustainability in healthcare at all Canadian medical schools. The MSA Environmental Sustainability Representative position at the University of Alberta was established in 2017.
The mandate of this position is to:
- Promote environmental sustainability within the MSA;
- Be available as a resource to fellow students to navigate more sustainable practices on campus, including event planning and office space improvements;
- Work with the University of Alberta Office of Sustainability within the Green Spaces Certification Program to integrate sustainable practices into MSA workspaces and MSA sanctioned events;
- Report on the advancements made in Sustainability to the MSA council and strive for Gold Sustainability Achievement for MSA spaces and events;
- Collaborate with the CFMS Health and Environment Adaptive Response Task Force (HEART) to:
- Assist with local-level guidance specific to the University of Alberta with regard to HEART’s goals to address “the topic of climate change as it pertains to human health in the curriculum of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Medical education programs”
- Bring attention to and assist (as necessary) with HEART educational campaigns to increase medical student and public knowledge of the health effects from climate change;
- Work to integrate other sustainability projects currently underway at the University of Alberta. These projects may include:
- Collaborating with local Choosing Wisely representatives on sustainability in medicine projects moving forward;
- Working on any relevant sustainability/climate change projects (as applicable) currently underway at the University of Alberta;
- Collaborating with the Undergraduate Medical Education office, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, and other departments or university bodies (as applicable) to integrate sustainability strategies;
- Working together with other representatives/interest groups across Canada to discuss local-level projects/initiatives to address climate change, sustainability, and health.
Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) – Climate Change & Health
You can learn more about the CFMS Global Health Program’s initiative on Climate Change and Health here, where you can also listen to an 8-part podcast series created by the Global Health Advocates and featuring local experts discussing the relationships between climate change and health.