Climate change and health in health care professions
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Department of Health, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Ruth Eggenschwiler   

Department of Health, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
Kristin Hammer   

Department of Health, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A119
As early as 20091, climate change was identified as the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. It is equally important for health professionals to understand the impacts of climate change2. Health professionals are developing skills to work with clients to make links between climate-related changes and health promotion. At the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Bachelor’s programmes in the health professions, the topic "Impacts of climate change on health" is not very firmly anchored in the curriculum. For this reason, the module is offered to students of occupational therapy, midwifery, nursing, physiotherapy and public health. The topic is particularly important for midwives as they care for people in a vulnerable phase of life who are strongly affected by climate change3.

Material and Methods:
Since autumn 2022, this module has been looking at different health impacts of climate change (heat effects and air pollution) and analysing the health opportunities of climate change mitigation measures in relation to the concept of 'planetary health'. Ideas for changing one's own way of working and dealing with climate-related consequences will be developed and implemented together. The focus will be on both profession-specific and overarching issues in health care.

The aim of this module is to discuss the complexity of health and disease in the context of climate, climate change and society. From this, we will identify and derive options for action for the health professions. This will enable us to take on a role as change agents in the future.

It is clear, that the implementation of the topic “climate change and health” of the undergraduate degree is desired. In order to transformation processes, the topic needs to be implemented in the course of studies. This will enable health professionals to develop competencies to respond to current and future challenges.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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