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Assessment of Climate-Health Curricula at International Health Professions Schools.

Abstract

To understand the state of climate-health curricula among health professions institutions internationally.

Researchers have published surveys on health professionals' perceptions of the possible association between climate change and health (climate-health) and assessed climate-health or planetary health curricula in medical schools. However, curricula on climate-health are still lacking and gaps in knowledge persist.

A survey of 160 institutional members of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, which includes international health professions schools and programs, was conducted from August 3, 2017, to March 1, 2018. The survey, hosted by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, used an online survey tool for data collection.

Current climate-health educational offerings appear to vary considerably among health professions institutions. Students, faculty, and administration are important groups to engage when instituting curricula, and awareness, support, and resources may be able to assist in this effort.

The survey assessed climate-health curricular offerings across health professions institutions internationally, including existing climate-health educational offerings, method of teaching climate-health education, whether institutions are considering adding climate-health education, whether institutions received a positive response to adding climate-health curricula and/or encountered challenges in adding curricula, and opportunities to advance climate-health education.

Overall response rate to the survey was 53%, with 84 of 160 institutional responses collected; 59 of the responses (70%) were from schools/programs of public health, health sciences, or health professions; 15 (18%) were from medicine; 9 (11%) were from nursing; and 1 (1%) was from another type of health profession institution. Among respondents, 53 (63%) institutions offer climate-health education, most commonly as part of a required core course (41 [76%]). Sixty-one of 82 respondents (74%) reported that climate-health offerings are under discussion to add, 42 of 59 respondents (71%) encountered some challenges trying to institute the curriculum, and most respondents have received a positive response to adding content, mainly from students (39 of 58 [67%]), faculty (35 of 58 [60%]), and administration (23 of 58 [40%]).

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