Stephanie Chalupka (Nursing) recently presented Creating The Future – Environment and Sustainability in Health Professional Education as a webinar, which was broadcast nationally, in the Leadership/Advocacy Series sponsored by Practice Greenhealth.
As the second-largest industry in the U.S., the health care sector is poised to be a leader in sustainability. With increasing evidence linking climate change, waste, chemicals, and energy usage to public health, a growing number of hospitals are embracing sustainability as part of their mission.
Health professional education provides the opportunity to empower health practitioners of the future to build a practice based on knowledge and best practices in environmental stewardship and implement ecologically sound and healthy alternatives to health care practices that pollute the environment and contribute to disease. The presentation was targeted toward a nursing and clinical health professional audience and described opportunities to incorporate environmental health and sustainability into health professional curricula in order to promote a health care sector that does no harm, and instead promotes the health of people and the environment. Curriculum integration points for environmental health and sustainability, as a foundation for a long-term commitment to sustainability practice and programming, were provided, as were successful models for environmentally sustainable clinical practice in a hospital setting in conjunction with academic partners.
Founded as a collaboration between the American Hospital Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Practice Greenhealth represents has more than 1,300 member hospitals and health care systems in the US that have made a commitment to sustainable, environmentally preferable practices and safer, greener workplaces and communities.
Dr. Chalupka’s co-presenters were Theresa L. Piekut, Professor of Nursing, The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and Judith Focareta, MEd, RN, Coordinator, Environmental Health Initiatives, Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.