New planetary health case studies are available now

June 18, 2018

The Planetary Health Center of Expertise (PHCOE) released three new web-based interactive case studies, adding to the growing library of cases available to educators and students.

The case studies address issues that affect the global systems of land, air, water and life – the focus of the emerging field of Planetary Health – and promote a One Health approach to solving problems that affect humans, animals and the environment.

“Educators are welcome to use these case studies in their classrooms, and we hope students around the world will use them to sharpen critical thinking skills in the context of global health,” said Woutrina Smith, PHCOE co-director.

The new case studies take participants on a global tour from Southeast Asia, to Central America and to the California coast. The Investigating a gastroenteritis outbreak, takes place in Bangladesh and focuses on a food-borne outbreak among workers in a factory. The learner is guided step by through methods implemented in an outbreak investigation. This case provides classic epidemiology training for an outbreak investigation.

Traveling to Nicaragua, the Nicaragua Air Quality, Respiratory Illness and Energy Efficiency case, highlights three intricately linked planetary health concerns: energy efficiency, air quality and respiratory illness by investigating the challenges and alternatives to wood-burning stoves and implementing proposed changes in cooking equipment in rural communities. This case, “focuses equally on energy, human health and environmental conservation addressing planetary health concerns by shifting to special cooking stoves through community engagement,” according to Sophia Papageorgiou, education & outreach program coordinator for the PHCOE.

The third case, Sea Otters and Disease off the California Coast, highlights the local California coastal community with a spotlight on the charismatic sea otters (Enhydra lutris) and the current health crises affecting this unique keystone species. “We showcase the importance of working with a transdisciplinary team to solve the disease mysteries plaguing this species and that has tentacles reaching to human and ecosystem health,” said Papageorgiou.

The PHCOE case study library is updated on the UCGHI Education resources page. Interested educators and students should check back regularly as more interactive cases are added.