Some challenging and persistent global public health problems are related to nutrition and to climate change. Nutrition is a major determinant of health, associated with prevention and treatment of a broad range of diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other diseases and conditions. Likewise, climate change has multiple impacts on health, ranging from heightened respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, spread of infectious diseases, malnutrition and mental illness. In this regard, health professionals should possess essential knowledge and skills on these issues. Yet, they can be impeded by a lack of training regarding these topics.
The Institute of Global Health of the University of Geneva and the Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin thus launched a research project on the nutrition and the climate change education of future health professionals, with partial funding from the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation. The climate change axis of this project is part of the 4C-Health consortium initiated by the CVV on climate change and health communication.
The project focuses particularly on medical curricula and public, global or international health master programs. The objective is twofold: firstly, it aims to assess the current state of the nutrition and the climate change education in medical and public health curricula. To this end, the research team developed an online survey targeting people in charge of the curriculum in medical schools and in public health master programs (i.e. vice-deans for education, program coordinators, teachers, etc.). The survey is still open and can be completed at http://bit.ly/2qyWmQ2 for medical schools, and http://bit.ly/2p94WE4 for public health masters.
The second objective is to identify needs and formulate recommendations using the Delphi method. The latter is a frequently used technique to build consensus among a panel of experts. It is structured in several rounds of questionnaires, during which the panellists anonymously express their opinions. The results are fed back to the panellists and they are asked to reconsider their own answers, until consensus is achieved. In this project, the Delphi consultation aims at achieving consensus on the ideal format and content of a nutrition and a climate change curriculum for medical and public health students, in order to develop recommendations.
The preliminary results of this study were presented at the World Health Summit 2017 in Berlin, in the workshop “Emerging trends in public health education”.