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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. 

2022 Summit of Virginia Climate and Health Education Collaborative

April 1-2, 2022

The Berkeley Hotel, Richmond, VA

Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action (VCCA) hosted the 2022 Virginia Climate and Health Education Collaborative (VCHEC) conference on April 1 and 2, 2022 at the Berkeley Hotel in Richmond, VA.  The hybrid event continued the collaborative integration of climate and health into the curriculums of regional health professionals schools.  

 

The schools that participated this year included were

  • George Washington School of Medicine

  • Georgetown School of Medicine

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

  • Shenandoah University School of Health Professions

  • UVA School of Medicine

  • UVA School of Nursing

  • VCU School of Medicine

  • VCU School of Pharmacy

  • VT/Carilion School of Medicine

 

The 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 regional community that would work together towards a common goal.  

 

On day one, the 37 students and faculty leaders from 8 regional schools heard words of inspiration from Dr. Samantha Ahdoot, chair of VCCA, as well as Dr. Cecilia Sorenson, director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (GCCHE) launched by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.  On day two, student leaders from eight of the participating schools presented the wonderful progress they have made so far.  This was followed by a moderated discussion about progress and challenges faced by those that are doing the work.  Participants received a worksheet to build a goal and a roadmap for the upcoming year.  Finally, the summit was concluded with a motivating talk by Dr. Hana Akselrod from George Washington University School of Medicine.  

 

We look forward to further development of programs in Virginia and a follow-up convening in 2023!

 

Nick Snow

Homan Wai

Co-Chairs of VCCA Education Committee

2022 Presentations 

Below is a list of available presentations from the different institutions that were present at the collaborative.

University Presentations

Speaker Presentations

2022 Summit Recordings

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