Canadian Federation of
Medical Students

Climate Change and Environmental Health Competencies


Climate change is inextricably linked to public health. See these excellent resources from WHO, the Global Climate & Health Alliance, and The Lancet

HEART has been working since its inception to incorporate learning of the crucial links between planetary health and human health into medical curricula at all Canadian medical schools. HEART’s aim is to create and incorporate an environmental health curriculum into all Canadian medical schools’ curricula by 2020.

To achieve this goal, HEART has developed a set of “Planetary Health Competencies” which are modelled after the MCC competencies all Canadian medical schools must teach in order to receive accreditation.

The following steps have been taken since the creation of HEART to meet this goal: Steps 1 & 2 – completed. Steps 3 through 6 – ongoing.

The following individuals have been involved in the creation of these curricular competencies:

Written by medical student members of HEART, 2017-18: Finola Hackett (University of Alberta), Itai Malkin (University of Ottawa), Blake Hollett Power (Memorial University), Julia Sawatzky (University of Alberta)

Edited by medical student members of HEART, 2018-19: Sasha Létourneau (Queen’s University), Natalya O’Neill (University of Toronto), Finola Hackett (University of Alberta), Kira Genise (University of Ottawa), Jacqueline Mincer (Dalhousie University), Kelsey MacQueen (University of Calgary), Tiffany Got (University of Toronto)

We have received feedback from environmental health and medical education experts regarding these competencies, and updates are being continuously made to ensure adequacy for curricular implementation. Experts who have given feedback so far are:

Below is the list of curricular competencies HEART has developed, along with interactive activities and curricular adaptations to give examples of learning sessions for each competency.

Please see HEART’s CFMS HEART Planetary Health Toolkit for the complete Planetary Health Curricular Competencies document as well as other useful documents, including FAQs on how to talk to medical education Administrators about the Planetary Health Competencies Project.