‘12 tips for teaching environmental sustainability to health professionals’

Patricia Nayna Schwerdtle, Janie Maxwell, Graeme Horton, James Bonnamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: As recognition of the health impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges increases, so too does the need for health care professionals to practice healthcare sustainably. Environmental sustainability in healthcare extends beyond our traditional understanding of environmental health, which is often limited to environmental hazards and disease. Health services, professional organizations, and training institutions are increasingly forming climate and sustainability position statements and policies accordingly. To prepare future health professionals for global environmental change, environmental sustainability must be meaningfully integrated into health curricula. Aim: To provide educators with 12 tips for integrating environmental sustainability into health professional education. Methods: The authors reviewed the literature relating to climate change, environmental sustainability and health, and health professional education. By combining findings from this search with reflections on their own experience in clinical and public health teaching across nursing and midwifery, paramedicine, medicine, and public health, the authors developed recommendations for integrating environmental sustainability into health professional education. Results: These 12 tips can be used to teach students and qualified health professionals in nursing, allied health, and medicine to practice healthcare in an environmentally sustainable manner. Conclusions: Empowering health professionals to practice environmentally sustainable healthcare has economic, social, health, and environmental benefits. Teaching environmental sustainability to health professionals enhances existing learning by updating curricula with the latest evidence of how environmental determinants of health are rapidly changing and enables both educators and students to make an important contribution to safeguarding human health, the environment, and healthcare for future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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