Vision for the Sustainable Healthcare Education network (draft)

Please do make changes to the text, if you have edits to make, as well as posting comments underneath.

This is a draft mission statement of the Sustainable Healthcare Education network (SHE), developed by the core SHE team. It incorporates five year goals, but is for review and further discussion and development by network participants.

Sustainable Healthcare Education Network - Mission Statement

Our vision is that all healthcare graduates are able to explain the relevance of planetary health (1) and environmental sustainability to health and healthcare, and support (incorporate/create/enact) environmental sustainability in their workplaces and professional roles and duties. 

Work with health professional educators and students to develop guidance and materials that can be used to facilitate effective teaching, learning and assessment for sustainable healthcare literacy.
Support healthcare schools to incorporate sustainable healthcare education into their curriculum and to implement and evaluate new teaching and assessment.
Work with regulatory bodies to integrate sustainability into guidance and assessments for undergraduate and postgraduate education, thus supporting moves to bring sustainable healthcare into mainstream teaching and assessment.

SHE is an international network which began in the UK and supports the development of sustainable healthcare education internationally. It aims to support the delivery of sustainable healthcare education for medical, nursing and allied health professionals, both through inter-professional education and development of discipline and specialty specific education. Its broader future aims are to support the integration of sustainability into all areas of education.

Goals for medical education (five years)

(goals for nursing and allied health professional education to be developed)

1.    All UK medical educators and students recognise the relevance of sustainability in medical education. This will be achieved by supporting the GMC to incorporate the Priority Learning Outcomes (Appendix 1) into their guidance and assessments.  
Measurement: Inclusion in the GMC Quality Assurance Framework  (via one or more of these activities: review/visit/exploratory question/survey); reference to sustainability in guidance;  assessment question bank including questions specific to sustainability and health.

2.    All UK medical schools include environmental sustainability learning objectives within their curriculum and provide at least one sustainable healthcare education learning opportunity within their curriculum. 
Measurement: survey of educators in SHE

3.    SHE teams in each UK medical school include at least one student and one faculty member from every UK medical school.  
Measurement: SHE network membership list

4.    International membership would consist of at least one representative from an MBBS or post graduate medical organisation in all English speaking countries (either academic or student) . Measurement: SHE network membership list 

5.    A teaching bank of learning objectives, teaching materials/tools (e.g lesson plans)  and assessments for sustainable healthcare education created and updated on the SHE website  (for UK / International)



(1) Whitmee S, Haines A, Beyrer C, et al. Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health. Lancet 2015; published online July 16. “the achievement of the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, and equity worldwide through judicious attention to the human systems—political, economic, and social—that shape the future of humanity and the Earth’s natural systems that define the safe environmental limits within which humanity can fl ourish. Put simply, planetary health is the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends"

(2) General Medical Council. Outcomes For Graduates (Tomorrow’S Doctors). London: GMC, 2015. Print.


Appendix 1

Priority Learning Outcomes referenced in the GMC’s document Outcomes for Graduates .
1. Describe how the environment and human health interact at different levels
2. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to improve the environmental sustainability of health systems
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



Questioning the goals

Linda East's picture

Emily, I really like the way you describe the vision, mission and scope of the SHE network (especially the reference to planetary health, a significant and emerging field).  However, the goals are specific to medicine rather than addressing the healthcare professions more generally.  As a lecturer in nursing, I can't relate to the goals.  At the same time, I'm not sure how we could set goals for healthcare education in general without losing the 'SMART' dimension.  What do other members of this network think?


Nursing outcomes in the SHE vision

Stefi Barna's picture

I agree with Linda.  We could easily include separate aims for medical and nursing curricula .  Linda can you suggest something?


Fourth Goal

Ingeborg Steinbach's picture

I think it is important to open up the international membership to all countries - not only English speaking ones. Climate change is a global problem, so it is important to reach health graduates around the world.


Questioning the goals

Emily Farrow's picture

Hi Linda, you're right that the current goals are specific to medicine. We could add goals specific to nursing and other health professionals. If network members would make suggestions on this page, that would be a start. Do you have any thoughts on this?

In response to Inge's comments, I agree that it would be ideal to have international members from all countries, not just those who speak English. The goal was limited to English-speaking countries to make it achievable from a practical perspective re communication. Including all countries as a goal may make it unachievable,  people's thoughts on this are welcome.


Questioning the goals

Linda East's picture

Hi all, and thanks for your comments.  I think the problem is that we (nursing) are lagging behind.  Your goals for medical education reflect the Priority Learning Outcomes, underpinned by a rigorous consultation exercise and with professional body recognition.  Perhaps we need to do a similar exercise in nursing to produce goals that are equally credible for our own profession, although nursing education networks do not have the focus that medical education seems to have (perhaps because there are so many more nursing schools?).  I would not like this issue to put the work on developing the vision back, though. Perhaps the statement regarding goals can  be annotated in some way to acknowledge that the focus is on medical education?  The Priority Learning Outcomes are certainly relevant to all healthcare professionals, but the implementation will be different. 


SHE and nursing profession

David Pencheon's picture

Good Comment Linda. I am guessing you know about all the work led by Janet Richardson and Jane Grose in Plymouth at the European level? David


Yes indeed, David.  I'm not

Linda East's picture

Yes indeed, David.  I'm not sure NurSus is quite the mandate for all nursing schools in the way the priority learning outcomes are for medicine, though.  We need to influence the new NMC Standards that are currently out for consultation - Janet has emailed us all about that.  BW,  Linda


Questioning the goals

Emily Farrow's picture

I have made a couple of small changes to the document regarding the medical education goals. Would people let me know their thoughts about goal 4 and international membership. If it only includes English-speaking countries then we risk being exclusive and not involving countries such as Brazil and numerous places in Europe. Perhaps it could include at least one (or more?) country from each continent and all English-speaking countries, to keep it acheivable but more inclusive?


Actions from words

Sarah Walpole's picture

Hi everyone, Great to see the discussion so far about the Vision statement.

My main comments would be about trying to ensure that the goals reflect active participation. I also wonder if we can think about measuring our outcome in terms of students' practice, although I realise that this is more work, e.g. how many students are doing practical projects, what sort of carbon savings are being made, what advocacy efforts are they supporting.

For specifics, I think that goal 3 about membership could simply specify that they should be 'active' members, or could say a bit more about what they are doing - meeting and making progress locally - taking from step one to step two (we could give (in appendix?) more ideas about what sorts of specifics med schools can do, and stages of progress that we've seen in med schools developing SHE education).

In goal 5, could we specify that we want to have a resource library that is accessed and used? We could measure that by asking for feedback in comments from people who use resources - this would also help future users. It would be even better if we could somehow make our resources interactive - almost like a wiki - that when someone makes an 'improvement' for their context others coudl see and consider incorporating it or part of it...

Regarding this phrase "support (incorporate/create/enact) environmental sustainability", how about "enact sustainable practices" - as we've already talked about environmental sustainability and we recognise that the three areas of sustainability interact...


vision and mission

Caroline Wellbery's picture

No offense, but I've dealt with a lot of vision statements and they are short. For example Andersone Cancer Center--their vision is to 'make cancer history.' Most vision statement average 10 words.

In general, vision and mission statements should be easy to read. They should be immediately graspable. So I recommend a deep edit here. I noticed that the word 'support' is used over and over again. I took a stab at a partial edit, and wonder if there are others interested in providing readability and clarity to this document. If so, please let me know. If others are happy with the statements and are not as ridiculously perfectionistic as I am, I will not be offended.