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Sustainable Healthcare Lecture

By: Brighton and Sussex Medical School


Brighton and Sussex medical school incorporated sustainability into their core curriculum by giving a one-hour lecture to their 4th year medical students during their Primary Care block. The teaching was arranged by a lecturer in public health and was delivered together with a local GP who is the lead for sustainability at the CCG.

Sustainability learning outcomes addressed:

  • PLO 2 - Demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to improve the environmental sustainability of health systems
  • PLO 3 - Discuss how the duty of a doctor to protect and promote health is shaped by the dependence of human health on the local and global environment

Experience and Lessons Learned

Educators received positive feedback about the session. That teaching was delivered by a clinician gave the students a “hook” that engaged them and made the teaching relevant to their practice. Meeting with the module leader in the preparation phase for this session ensured that the teaching on sustainability was in line with the rest of the teaching on the primary care module. Ensuring that the content had examples of local practice in primary care helped to link this lecture to the rest of the module and to the students’ future roles.

One problem highlighted by the educators was that the lecture was given at the end of year 4 therefore introducing the “language of sustainability” too late for many students;  it might have better results if incorporated earlier on in students’ medical education. A further concern was that a stand alone lecture such as this in the primary care unit may imply to some students that sustainability is only relevant to primary and not secondary care.

Reflecting on the teaching, the organiser felt that it would have been better managed in small groups and in seminars rather than large groups – however BSMS had a limited capacity of teaching staff with the appropriate expertise at the time of the teaching.

Lecture date: 17/06/2016

Pedagogical format: Lecture

Number of students taught: 140

Teaching time:  1 hour

Curriculum area: Primary Care

Brighton, Sussex, UK

Anna Jones, dr.anna.jones@gmail.com