CLIMATEMED-project – education material development about the health effects of climate change

9 May 2022

Based on the forecast of the WHO, health effects of climate change between 2030 and 2050 could raise the yearly death toll by 250 thousand. The reason for this are the increase of newly appearing contagious and non-contagious diseases and death caused by extreme changes in weather. The Department of Public Health Medicine at our faculty has started the CLIMATEMED-project, with the aim of supporting the education capacities in this area by developing education materials and strengthening climate awareness.

Integrating knowledge about the health effects of climate change into medical trainings is not a new need. Several professional forums have formulated in the past decade that the curriculum of medical courses should have a stronger emphasises on the health effects of climate change. The European organisation representing healthcare organisations, the Standing Committee of European Doctors, has brought the attention of the decisionmakers of the European Union in 2018 to the fact, that the health effects of climate change should be included in the training of medical professionals.

The 2018 report about medical university trainings of the Association of American Physicians mentions “medicine related to climate change” an area that is projected to be its own independent subfield of internal medicine by 2035. In connection with this prognosis, the Association suggested that the education of subjects connected wo climate change should appear in the entire medical training from start to finish. Some time after their declaration, the UN has also encouraged the same idea with almost seven thousand supporting institutions.

Currently, the health effects of climate change only have a peripheric place in the curriculum of medical courses. The 2019 survey of the International Federation of Medical Students’s Association (IFMSA) studied the curriculum of 2817 medical universities. The results showed that only 15% of the surveyed universities has a course that deals with the topic of climate change and health. However, medical students have an increasing demand for knowledge about this topic to be integrated into the curriculum.

The participants of the CLIMATEMED-project are:

  • Leading partner: University of Pécs Medical School, Department of Public Health Medicine
  • Professional leader: Dr. János Girán, PhD, senior lecturer
  • Consortium members:
  • Centar za zdravlje, vežbanje i sportske nauke, Novi Sad, Serbia
  • National University of Ireland, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • National Public Health Centre, Budapest
  • Universitatea de Medicina, Farmacie, Stinte si Tehnologie George Emil Palade din Tirgu Mures, Târgu Mureş, Romania

Duration of the project: April 2022 – December 2025

The support needed for the realisation of the project is provided by the European Union Erasmus+ Cooperation Partnerships in Higher Education framework.

The goal of the CLIMATEMED-project:

  1. Developing a full semester (14 weeks) lecture series with detailed syllabus, lecture topics and related study material about the health effects of climate change; one of the priorities of the study material is the knowledge about reducing the health risks related to climate change, and spreading a preventative view about it.
  2. Developing the materials for a sensitivity training to increase motivation of educators in order to encourage them to incorporate knowledge about health effects connected to climate change into the materials of their own courses, therefore ensuring that multiple aspects of the topic are represented in medical training materials.
  3. Developing a methodology guide for university educators about the best practices of integrating health topics related to climate change into pre-existing course syllabi.
  4. Developing further education possibilities and materials for already practicing doctors to enable them to expand and refresh their knowledge about the health effects of climate change.

By reaching these goals, they would like to emphasize the importance of the challenges of climate change, and help the European Union medical trainings to implement the education of health effects of climate change as a compulsory subject in medical trainings. The study materials are formulated in English, Hungarian, Romanian and Serbian languages, both for in-person education and for e-learning.