Education for health professionals to achieve planetary health

The ‘‘2030 Sustainable Development Goals’’ outline the need for education for sustainable development to sustain planetary health. Thus, higher education institutions that train health professionals should consider embedding competencies to promote planetary health.

Some members of our group have carried out a study to determine the competencies for achieving planetary health. They include displacement due to climate change, vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly or the poorest, water and food security, the burden of infectious diseases, catastrophes such as floods or extreme temperatures, air pollutants, or mental health effects. Therefore, education for sustainable development should provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be effective in addressing global health challenges, such as the interdependence of ecosystems and human health, including the effects of environmental change on health, as well as the impact of the health sector and its dependence on the environment.

Some European universities have already started to make the training of health professionals more sustainable and are examples of the steps that need to be taken.

The full text can be found at: Cristina Álvarez-García, Isabel María López-Medina, Sebastián Sanz-Martos, Carmen Álvarez-Nieto. Planetary health: Education for sustainable healthcare. Educación Médica. 2021.

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