New Diploma Program Trains Clinicians in Climate Medicine

October 2022

A new diploma program in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Climate & Health Program will train clinicians to advocate for climate-resilient policies, address environmental justice issues, and lead health care systems in decarbonization and resiliency.

The Diploma in Climate Medicine welcomed its first cohort at the end of September, training clinician participants over a two-year, five-certificate diploma course in sustainable hospital systems, disaster response and recovery, community resilience, foundations in climate medicine, and global challenges.

The diploma program, which is open to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other clinicians, was developed over many years and with input from partners of the Climate & Health Program.

In the first unit, they will work with scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder “which will give them a 360-degree perspective on where the science comes from, how we translate earth science into our understanding of weather, and from that we begin to talk about the impacts of extreme weather events on human health,” says Jay Lemery, MD, co-director of the CU Climate & Health Program and a professor of emergency medicine in the CU School of Medicine.

That same week, participants will spend two days at Rocky Mountain National Park to meet with a ranger who will discuss climate degradation on otherwise pristine ecosystems.

In other units, participants will visit Disaster City at Texas A&M University, a manmade environment that can be used to simulate disaster scenarios and how extreme weather events cause or exacerbate them. They also will partner with the organization Health Care Without Harm for a deep dive into hospital system sustainability and resiliency.

Participants who represent a broad spectrum of health care will contribute an important diversity of perspectives to the diploma program, “which is important because it’s addressing one of the most important health care crises of the next century,”  Lemery says. “It’s vital that we scale up the health care workforce who are credible leaders in our communities, our organizations, in our society.” 

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