Hands and feet

September 2009

Professional

Preparing Australian medical students for climate change

Volume 38, No.9, September 2009 Pages 726-729

Evelyn I Hamel Green

Grant Blashki

Helen L Berry

David Harley

Graeme Horton

Gillian Hall

Background

Climate change is now recognised as a global public health problem and the future medical workforce will be working during a period when the health impacts of climate change are likely to be significant.

Objective/s

This article discusses the ongoing training on the health impacts of climate change for the current and future medical workforce.

Discussion

The role of medical practitioners in the coming decades will need to include assisting communities to adapt to changing climatic conditions, managing climate sensitive illnesses, and contributing to mitigation efforts to prevent climate change. Climate change and health should be built into the curricula of Australian medical schools spanning public health, clinical medicine, preventive health and global health. We propose a problem based learning approach to highlight clinical and public health implications, and present two hypothetical case studies suitable for teaching purposes.

Climate change is now recognised as a global public health problem and will be an important component of ongoing training for the current medical workforce and, particularly, for the future medical workforce.1–3 The role of medical practitioners in the coming decades is likely to include assisting communities to adapt to changing climatic conditions, managing climate sensitive illnesses and contributing to mitigation efforts to prevent climate change.4 In this article, we argue that climate change and health should be built into the curricula of Australian medical schools and ongoing education for general practitioners and other specialists. We propose a problem based learning approach to highlight clinical and public health implications, and present two hypothetical case studies suitable for teaching purposes.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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