School of Medicine sustainability education

An overview of how we embed topics of planetary health and sustainable healthcare into the undergraduate medical curriculum and staff engagement.

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Student education


To embed the topics of planetary health and sustainable healthcare into the undergraduate medical curriculum, so that the default way of thinking for a Dundee Medical Graduate is to view the practise of medicine and clinical decision making through the lens of ecological sustainability, as this will ultimately benefit patients, public health and the natural environment.


To date, a number of lectures, workshops, and student selected components (SSCs) have been integrated into the undergraduate curriculum.

Undergraduate Year 1

  • Introduction to Planetary Health, Sustainable Healthcare, and Environmental Advocacy (Lecture)
  • Sustainable Nutrition (Lecture)
  • Planetary Health (SSC)

Undergraduate Year 2

  • Climate Change and Health (Workshop)

Undergraduate Year 3

  • Our Natural Health Service (SSC)

Undergraduate Year 4

  • Environmental Sustainability (Online module)

Undergraduate Year 5

  • Environmentally Sustainable Clinical Practice (Sustainability in Quality Improvement framework (SusQI) SSC)

But there is more work to do, in order that these topics are not seen as of secondary importance to more traditional areas of teaching, or as an optional area of the curriculum. However, there are a number of other lectures and SSCs that are related to sustainable healthcare teaching, in that they share similar themes and principles, but which have not all been mapped. It will be important to map these, for the purposes of creating a meaningful environmental sustainability curriculum for the students, and also for completion of the Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC). For example:

  • Realistic Medicine (SSC)
  • Global Citizenship teaching
  • Global Health Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMSc)

Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC) actions

  • Completion of the PHRC for 2024
  • Within all Healthcare Improvement SSCs which are a core option for students, Sustainability teaching will be included and Sustainability will be a key focus when improving and designing new products, services, and environments.

Add elements of assessment

  • The online module will be assessed in the portfolio

Staff development

  • To support staff who wish to include Sustainability topics in their teaching
  • Develop links with the proposed Eden Project Dundee
  • Make use of the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens for student projects, research, and community engagement initiatives
  • Collaborating with the Living Lab and learning for sustainability at the University of Dundee Botanic Gardens for student projects, research, and community engagement initiatives


  • Researching how to optimise Planetary Health education as part of doctoral research
  • Encouragement and support for student research projects

Staff engagement and education

We all understand the potential impacts of climate change on public health, health infrastructure, political stability, and global cooperation. Hopefully all of us within the School of Medicine will engage in the preparation of the June 2024 submission, and thereafter. Help is welcome! One of the ‘treats’ in a SWOT analysis of this strategy document is staff involvement. An initial enthusiastic meeting was later met with unanswered emails, job moves, and failed promises of replacements. It has been challenging and disappointing. However, the current revamped team are enthusiastic, informed, and have already started work in their areas. The enthusiasm of our student lead has led to the recruitment of students for the PHRC in the double figures already.

Staff questionnaire


To ask the question How would you alter the School of Medicine to improve our climate and environment? and to foster engagement and ideas.


A questionnaire is being drafted to go onto webpage, SharePoint, and newsletter. A period of four weeks will be given to complete. A report of the analyses will be prepared.

Organisational and Professional Development (OPD) training


To integrate Sustainability training with formal OPD for the School of Medicine.


Discussions are ongoing to formalise podcasts we have, and to set up an afternoon each year on Sustainability. Links to relevant Podcasts will be inserted into newsletter, webpage, and SharePoint.

Prestation of Strategy to Medical School at all-staff meeting


To raise awareness of the work of the Committee, to promote staff engagement, and to receive new ideas.


Presentation at 25 April all staff meeting.