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allied health insights

Allied Health Insights Vol. 1, No.18: Sustainability For Allied Health

In this edition, we look at how the issues of climate change and sustainability will continue to impact health care, and how the connections between health care and climate change will become increasingly relevant. We examine the role that the broader health workforce can and will need to play in order to meet these challenges head on.

Dr Kristy Robson discusses the urgent need for AHPs to start addressing the global climate crisis, and outlines nine ways you can contribute to environmental and social sustainability in your workplace or practice.

One particular allied health profession that will play a particularly important role in relation to climate change is this week’s A to Z of Allied Health: Health Promotion Practitioner. We examine this profession’s workforce considerations, professional education requirements, and more.

We return to our series covering the lived experiences of our clients and patients with an interview with cystic fibrosis survivor Justin Wall: his quality of care and interactions with AHPs,  and the need for more personalised care.

Useful Links

The AHP Playlist

climate clinic podcast

Climate Clinic Podcast | The Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education

A brand new podcast that will bring the latest climate and health headlines, in-depth discussions with experts and professionals from situations unfolding around the world, to help all health-related professionals to be the change, starting today

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king's spotlight on sustainability

Embedding sustainability into the healthcare professions | King’s Spotlight on Sustainability

How can you embed sustainability into any healthcare profession? Are you interested in how to educate people in the workforce about sustainability? A discussion with Stefi Barna, Education Director at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.

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australian podiatry association apoda podcast

What is Sustainability in Healthcare and How Can Clinicians Contribute to Positive Change? | Australian Podiatry Association (APodA) Podcasts

Within the healthcare sector, environmental sustainability occurs when resources are used as efficiently as possible, without compromising the quality of care for patients. Reducing the environmental impact of health care is important, and not least of all because of its links to the health of the environment.

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Recommended Research

Planetary health care: a framework for sustainable health systems

“The quest for net zero health-care emissions involves re-imagining a society where health and wellbeing are prioritised, and incentives are aligned to promote fiscal and environmental stewardship. Much as reducing global energy emissions requires both supply-side (renewable energy sources) and demand-side (consumer behaviour) management, mitigating the health-care footprint requires interventions both to the health-care system and to the factors driving demand.”—MacNeill, McGain, Sherman, The Lancet Planetary Health, Vol.5, Issue 2, February 1, 2022

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High value health care is low carbon health care

“We are in a health emergency precipitated by climate change. As well as physical health threats, climate change and its effects are adversely affecting Australians’ mental health, and worsening the health inequities suffered by vulnerable populations. In response, the Australian health care community must both adapt to increased demand and to deteriorating environmental conditions, and mitigate the carbon footprint of health care, currently 7% of our national carbon emissions.”—Barratt, Bell, Charlesworth, McGain, The Medical Journal of Australia, Vol 216, Issue 2, February 7, 2022.

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Sustainable healthcare – Time for ‘Green Podiatry’

“A Healthcare aims to promote good health and yet demonstrably contributes to climate change, which is purported to be ‘the biggest global health threat of the 21st century’. This is happening now, with healthcare as an industry representing 4.4% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Ironically, health care (medical, allied health, inpatient, out-patient), which aims to promote good health and alleviate ills and afflictions, is a significant contributor to climate change. Indeed, the carbon footprint of health care is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions.”—Angela Margaret Evans, Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 14, 45, 2021.

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A progress report on planetary health, environmental and sustainability education in physiotherapy

“Health and health care can no longer be thought of and practiced in an isolated manner. All healthcare professions must educate their current and future colleagues with the necessary understanding and skills to develop and implement integrated responses to today’s inseparable social, environmental and health crises, and achieve the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”—Filip Maric, European Journal of Physiotherapy, Vol 23, No. 4, 2021.

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