RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has been ranked as the top-performing medical school in Ireland in the Planetary Health Report Card 2023.
Part of a global initiative led by the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA), an international consortium of organisations committed to addressing global environmental change and its health impacts, the report card assesses the extent to which higher education institutions across the globe are promoting and supporting planetary health.
It is intended to inspire higher education institutions to prioritise planetary health in their curricula and institutional practices.
Institutions are evaluated based on their commitment to research and education on key issues such as climate change, pollution and public health. The report card also takes into account institutional policies and practices that support planetary health, such as sustainable food sourcing, energy-efficient buildings, and waste reduction programmes. Results are published in an annual Earth Day report, which helps track institutional change over time.
Climate Change and Health
In a student-led evaluation, RCSI and other participating institutions were assessed and graded across five key indicators: planetary health curriculum, interdisciplinary research in health and the environment, community outreach and advocacy, support for student-led initiatives and campus sustainability.
RCSI’s performance across all categories resulted in an overall grade of A-, the highest in Ireland and one of only four institutions in the global ‘Medicine’ category to receive a grade above B+.
RCSI’s strong result highlights the university’s commitment to promoting planetary health through its educational programmes and institutional practices. RCSI’s undergraduate medical programme has integrated planetary health across the curriculum which also includes a student choice module on climate change and health.
The university’s efforts in sustainability and planetary health promotion were recognised, including switching to 100% green electricity, and introducing a module on ‘Climate Change and Sustainability in Global Public Health’ to the core curriculum in its Pharmacy programme.
Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI Vice Chancellor, said, “I am delighted that RCSI has been recognized as the top-performing institution in Ireland in the Planetary Health Report Card and I congratulate colleagues in the Department of Public Health and Epidimeology at our School of Population Health for their leadership in this important.”
“This result reflects our commitment to promoting planetary health through education and institutional practices. As a university focused exclusively on the health sciences, we are acutely aware of the interconnectedness between human health and the health of our planet, and the critical importance of understanding this link. We are committed to continuing to prioritise planetary health in our research, teaching and operations.”
The Planetary Health Report Card began in 2019 and has since been adopted by institutions around the world as a way to track their progress in promoting planetary health. The report card is based on the Planetary Health Alliance’s Planetary Health Education Framework, which provides guidance for institutions seeking to integrate planetary health into their teaching and research.