The 4th Annual NorCal Symposium on Climate and Health held on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023 featured a half day of sessions ranging from climate health education for medical professionals to empowering institutions across the United States to address health impacts from climate change. The symposium was hosted by the University of California Center for Climate, Health, and Equity with sponsorship from Stanford Medicine’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research, UCSF Academic Senate, UC Davis School of Medicine, and Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health. This virtual symposium has been hosted by the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity since 2020 and continues to be a convening event for health professionals and students to incorporate climate health education into their respective institutions.
Trainee Movements - Bringing Climate Action to Medical Education: The symposium kicked off with a first session focused on bringing climate action to medical education with presentations from Karly Hampshire, MD, Co-Founder of the Planetary Health Report Card, and Harleen Marwah, MD, MS, Founding Chair of Medical Students for a Sustainable Future (MS4SF). Both speakers detailed their advocacy efforts to spotlight climate change as a public health crisis that should be addressed through policies, practices, and most importantly, education.
Including Equity in Climate and Health Education through Institutions: The second session featured lightning presentations by current medical school residents and faculty aiming to develop and integrate sustainable curricula on climate and health equity into various levels of medical education for institutions across the country. Institutions including Harvard University, George Washington University, Stanford University, and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York shared climate health initiatives and online case studies that are in the early stages of being integrated into medical education curriculum.
Keynote Speaker – Our Children’s Trust: The third session transitioned into a powerful keynote presentation by Julia Olsen, Founder, Executive Director, and Chief Legal Counsel of Our Children’s Trust. This organization is the world’s only not-for-profit law firm to date that is dedicated exclusively to representing young people in lawsuits against their governments to protect their fundamental human right to a safe climate. Julia’s presentation featured several cases and testimonials that her firm has successfully brought to trial, including a landmark case “YOUTH v GOV” that was spotlighted in a feature length documentary on Netflix.
Empowering Tomorrow – Cutting Edge Climate Health Education: UCGHI Director of Education, Dr. Oladele Ogunseitan, and UCGHI Center for Planetary Health Co-Director, Dr. Woutrina Smith participated in the fourth session, which focused on empowering the next generation of climate and health education through innovative approaches and accessible opportunities. Fellow UC researchers and faculty members from UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSF, and UC San Diego shared their experiences engaging students through interdisciplinary avenues to incorporate climate change and health into their curricula while also activating the health sector to address climate impacts.
Healthcare Leadership Panel: The fifth session wrapped up the symposium with a panel featuring leadership from UC Davis, UCSF, and Stanford. This group of leaders in medical education share their insights on how their respective institutions are preparing to address the needs of healthcare professionals responding to patient populations experiencing the impacts of climate change.
The UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity, led by Co-Directors, Arianne Teherani, PhD, and Sheri Weiser, MD, MPH, MA, “seeks to drive climate action that safeguards health through four pillars – research, education, health system sustainability, and policy.” The Center collaborates across all 10 UC campuses.
All session recordings from the 4th Annual NorCal Symposium are now available here. For more information about the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity, please visit their website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.