Climate change is a health crisis that is causing escalating negative impacts on communities worldwide while simultaneously widening health disparities and affecting society’s ability to deliver healthcare. Along our current global emission pathway, impacts will only intensify in the coming years. Already, heat waves and flooding events are more deadly, disease outbreaks last longer and are seen in new regions, wildfire smoke from tinder-dry forests reduces air quality, and food and water security are threatened by extreme weather. The cascading adverse health effects of these and other climate-related exposures present urgent and complex challenges to health systems globally. There is an imperative for a coordinated and rapid transformation of the health sector. To continue the mission to protect the health and well-being of society, the health sector must be equipped to recognize, respond, and prepare for ongoing and future climate-related impacts on patients, communities, and especially, vulnerable patients. Simultaneously, the health sector must harden its own systems to ensure continuity of operations and mitigate its own carbon impact, while effectively communicating the necessity of these changes to the public. Education of the health workforce is a critical part of this essential solution to the climate crisis.
The GCCHE’s vision is that all health professionals throughout the world – doctors, nurses, public health practitioners, mental health practitioners, and allied health specialists– will work together to prevent, reduce, and respond to the health impacts of climate change.
To unite health professional training institutions, health societies, and regional health organizations to create a global climate-ready health sector, prepared to mobilize and lead health promotion and response in the era of climate change, while restoring the health of the planet.
To accomplish our mission, we:
Obtain commitments from health professions schools, health societies and regional health organizations across the globe to integrate climate and health into their institutional mission and educate their students and members on the health impacts of climate change and related environmental changes that impact human health and well-being
Partner with members, NGO’s, health societies and government organizations to disseminate knowledge and create public goods
Develop global health professional standards for knowledge and practice on the health impacts of climate change
Create and share climate and health educational resources and serve as a global clearing house
Bring together member institutions and stakeholders to share best scientific and educational practices
Create and support training programs on climate change and health that strive towards interdisciplinary cooperation
Build a pipeline of health professionals who focus their work on the health impacts of climate change
Support the development of global academic partnerships to foster mutual learning, particularly in under-resourced countries
Serve as a partner for educational initiatives related to climate change and health outside of the health-sector
Advocate for the inclusion of climate and health competencies on health professional licensure exams
Collaboration: The Consortium harnesses the expertise of more than 240 member institutions and partners to create best practices, educational trainings, and resources to be used by any interested party. All work done by the Consortium is done on behalf of members, is open-access, and for the public good.
Inclusivity: Membership is free and open to all. We strive to create a diverse community that is interdisciplinary, multinational, inclusive and free from bias. We invite all parties and voices to the table to share perspectives and collaborate.
Equity: Existing health disparities are exacerbated by the climate crisis and the health burdens of current and future environmental degradation will fall disproportionately on people and communities with the least capacity to cope. We strive to promote and include diverse representation in all our work and to build capacity in climate and health among underrepresented members of the health professions.
Science: We strive to incorporate the most cutting-edge and evidence-based practices in all the initiatives we undertake, resources we share, and products we produce.
Launched in early 2017, the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (GCCHE) was developed over the course of 2016, born from a meeting at the December 2015 COP-21 conference in Paris. At COP-21, a special session was held to highlight the need for greater investment in the study of and planning for the health impacts of climate change. The U.S. White House and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s Climate and Health Program spearheaded a pledge that was announced at the session, which was signed by 115 health professions schools and programs around the world, to educate tomorrow’s leaders on the health impacts of climate change. In follow up to COP-21, the World Health Organization endorsed the goal of education of health professions’ students and practitioners on the health impacts of climate change and their roles and responsibilities. The GCCHE was then created, with a secretariate based at Columbia University, which supports curriculum development, education and coordinates activities among members on this vital mission.
Several foundations have provided financial support for the GCCHE, including The Anahata Foundation, The Climate and Health Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and ClimateWorks Foundation. For more information, please see the GCCHE fact sheet.