Keele University’s School of Medicine ranked No.1 in the UK for embedding sustainability in medical training

Keele University’s Medical School has been ranked first in the UK in the 2021 Planetary Health Report Card - a student-led initiative which aims to introduce climate change and sustainability into medical school curricula.

Today's medical students will be on the frontline of tackling the impacts of climate change on health, meaning it is critical that they are trained to understand the effects of climate change on human health, as well as the relationship between healthcare and the environment more broadly.

The Planetary Health Report Card was founded by medical students and faculty mentors at the University of California San Francisco’s School of Medicine, in order to track work done by institutions to improve planetary health engagement and to inspire medical schools to focus on the importance of climate change and sustainability in healthcare education.

Over 250 medicine students from 62 medical schools in the UK, US, Canada and Ireland took part this year and measured their institutions against metrics including the curriculum, research, community outreach and advocacy, support for student-led planetary health initiatives and campus sustainability.

This success reflects Keele’s commitment to embedding sustainability across all of its campus operations and builds upon the University’s recent achievements as Sustainability Institution of the Year in the Green Gown Awards and ranking in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Global Impact Rankings.

Keele’s Institute for Sustainable Futures drives research into issues such as climate change, food security and clean energy on a local, national and global scale, and sustainability forms a crucial part of teaching and education at Keele across the whole curriculum.

Lauren Franklin, third-year medical student who led Keele’s submission, said: “I wanted to lead this project at Keele because sustainability and planetary health is becoming increasingly relevant to clinical practice and teaching our future healthcare staff about it is necessary. I was really happy with our results as a school and the report has highlighted areas that we can build upon in future."

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, and Institutional Lead for Sustainability said: “I’m delighted by the School of Medicine’s outstanding performance in being ranked first in the UK in the new Planetary Health Report Card.

“This impressive achievement is testament to Keele's institutional commitment to embed sustainability into all aspects of our operations including the curriculum and to the excellent work of colleagues in the Medical School to embed sustainability and climate change into the undergraduate medicine curriculum.”

Professor Christian Mallen, Head of the School of Medicine, said: “This is a fantastic achievement that is particularly impressive as it was led by one of our inspirational students. We will build on this success and continue to work on our commitment to sustainability across the Medical School.”