Climate change is here and impacting our health today.
So why aren't future health professionals learning about it?
The Virginia Climate and Health Education Collaborative (VCHEC) was established in 2021 to introduce climate education into the curriculum of schools of health training in the Commonwealth. The health of people is intimately connected, across disease and organ systems, with our changing climate reality. Future doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professionals must be prepared to recognize, diagnose, and treat climate-related health conditions if they are to adequately care for patients in our changing world.
The VCHEC is a collaborative of healthcare trainees, faculty, academic administrators and practicing clinicians who understand the need to incorporate climate education into schools of health training. Members are leading initiatives at institutions across the Commonwealth to bring climate education into the curriculum. This collaborative provides support, resource sharing, and inspiration to health trainees working to ensure that they are prepared clinicians of the future.
Inaugural Summit of Virginia Climate and Health Education Collaborative
In May of 2021, VCCA sponsored the Inaugural Summit of the VCHEC. This hybrid event included 24 student and faculty representatives who attended either in-person or remotely from seven different schools of health training in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Goals for the summit included learning about successful models for climate and health programs at other institutions, understanding challenges and strategies for success, creating short and long-term plans for program integration and networking to build a community in Virginia working together towards a common goal.
The Summit was a tremendous success! Students and faculty were inspired by presentations from regional institutions already incorporating climate education into health training. Current Virginia students highlighted the status of progress at their health education institutions, shared lessons learned from their experiences and enjoyed camaraderie with their fellow Virginia students.
We look forward to further development of programs in Virginia and a follow-up convening in the fall of 2021!
May 7-8, 2021
The George Washington Hotel, Winchester, VA
Below is a list of the presentations from the different institutions that were present at the collaborative.