Welcoming our Newest Intern, Brazilian medic Dr Karina Patricio

Mary Zacaroli's picture

I’m very happy to be here, at this fantastic Centre for Sustainable Healthcare!

I’m a Physician and Professor at a University in Brazil (Faculty of Medicine of Botucatu - FMB / UNESP - http://www.fmb.unesp.br), located within the State of São Paulo (240 km distant from the capital). My specilisation is in Public Health. I did a master degrees in Biological Science and post doc in Environmental Health.

I’m working in this area: sustainability health, but few people and health services  work in this line in Brazil nowadays. So I thought it was important to look for some ideas, projects, partnerships or networking outside Brazil. I looked  where it would be interesting to know more and I found this Centre. The work done here is wonderful and goes in the way that I really believe: Inspire (we need to show people that it is possible to take care in a more sustainable social, economic and environmental way); empowered then with tools and resouces to make their own changes and transform practice (and here I believe that education in the areas of health are fundamental, using evidence-based information, but also feelings, positive experiences may make sense to another to change more sustainable habits).

In Brazil I've been developing some work with medical and nurses students, and with different health professionals since 2008, when we received funding from the Ministry of Health for scholarships for students and professionals in my city (so far we have had 73 scholarships). We already work with all the staff from different health facilities in primary care, making discussions of what would environmental health and their interrelationships with the the disease process. Already we have conducted training for health workers. Another project was to conduct workshops for recycling paper with patients and health professionals, crafts with seeds, composting and gardening, all in primary healthcare, pleasurable ways to discuss these issues of sustainability, attracting more people than just inviting them to a lecture.

In 2013 we started our activities in the University Hospital, part of the global network of green and healthy (http://www.hcfmb.unesp.br/?page_id=4079) hospitals. We are developing a large project that is transforming the organic waste from the kitchen compost in the hospital. A group of farmers are collecting and taking the compost to the fields to plant vegetables which are then sold to hospital employees as food baskets. Thus, we are improving some goals: reusing organic waste and trying to reduce its production, improving health because the vegetables are agro-ecological (working towards organic status). Other goals are to reduce transportation, the vegetables are grown close to the hospital and improve the health of staff. 

So I hope to learn much more from this centre. It will be a great pleasure for me.

I'll be here for a month and the main idea for this internship will be researching the importance of increasing the intake of vegetables and eating less red meat, demonstrating through scientific evidence that hospitals and health professionals should encourage and develop initiatives to empower patients with this habit, highlighting the health, social, environmental and economic benefits. I also hope to visit NHS Forest sites nearby.

Then I can look at questions or further information or suggestions, partnerships, etc for my research. Thank you in advance for this great opportunity. Thanks to all the CSH staff, especially Rachel Stancliffe. Please contact me if you are interested in finding out more about what I do.

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