The University of Southern California Innovations in Medical Education Conference has recognized a student-faculty team from Case Western Reserve University for their climate change project—accepting their poster for consideration for several awards at the upcoming February meeting. The abstract, “Let’s Talk Climate Change: An Integrated Approach to Medical School Curriculum, ” is the work of second-year medical student Janine Corley and School of Medicine Associate Professor Karen Bolte Mulloy, DO, MSCH. It highlights the team’s effort of adding curriculum content on climate change and its impact on human health into first-year medical education at Case Western Reserve.
“There is considerable research that shows how the changes that are happening in our environment have negative effects on individuals and communities, including worsening existing health conditions and increased mortality, “ said Mulloy, who teaches in both the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. “We want students to learn about climate change and be prepared to address its impacts on their patients.”
Corley says she and Mulloy recognized an opportunity to increase awareness about and cover the health effects of climate change through the curriculum.
“As climate change continues to progress and causes changes in our day-to-day lives, we, as future physicians, will surely see its impact on our future patients,” said Corley. “With this training, my colleagues and I will be better equipped to recognize how our changing environment is impacting our patients and how we can help intervene to improve their health and safety.”
Corley and Mulloy began the project in 2021 as part of Case Western Reserve’s Interprofessional Scholars Collaboration in Teaching and Learning Program, a competitive program for faculty members and first-year School of Medicine students. The team hopes their work provides a model for implementing this type of curriculum in other medical institutions.