Tackling planetary health: Madhumita Kolluri and Niamh McCormack

"We are two Peninsula medical students who are committed to tackling global health and sustainability issues. If there is anything we’ve learned from this year’s unprecedented fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the problems many of us have long been dismissing might soon catch up with us. This is why we were inspired to bring the Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC) initiative to the Peninsula Medical School.

"The Planetary Health Report Card is an international effort that urges students and staff to engage their medical institutions with planetary health and sustainability health care. Climate change can cause all kinds of health problems for patients, including heat-related morbidity and mortality, respiratory diseases and allergies, water- and vector-borne diseases, and food insecurity. Climate change also disproportionately affects minorities and indigenous peoples, further exacerbating existing structural health inequities."

Madhumita:

"I am an international fourth-year medical student originally from Southern California and am passionate about patient-centred care, cultural awareness, student wellbeing, and environmental health. I have been a student advisor for international medical students and worked with societies like MegaReach to encourage peer-mentoring, interdisciplinary learning, and various community initiatives. As I progress through my medical career, I hope to dedicate my passion for medical education, research and public service to the global community."

Niamh:

"I am a third-year medical student. One thing I liked immediately about the Peninsula course was the emphasis on student-led learning, encouraging us to become independent and preparing us for our future as doctors. I also appreciate the friendly team of staff available at all times to provide support for students. Outside of medicine, I love to stay active. I joined the University Rowing Club in my first year, along with the Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society, which included trips to Dartmoor and the Brecon Beacons. The beautiful South Devon coastline and Dartmoor – both on Plymouth’s doorstep – are some of my favourite places to explore."

"At the University of Plymouth, we are leading a fantastic team of 10 students and staff who all believe that future physicians and leaders need to understand the relationship between climate and wellbeing to effectively treat patients in this rapidly changing world. We are currently assessing our School’s Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme performance in five key planetary health metrics, including:

  • the curriculum
  • interdisciplinary health and environment research
  • university support for student initiatives
  • community outreach and impact
  • sustainability.

"Our findings will be published alongside other PHRC institutions’, both internationally and within the UK. More importantly, our project will identify ways we can strengthen the Peninsula Medical School’s engagement with planetary health and sustainable health care.

"Overall, we are humbled and proud to be leading this project and hope we can give back to the communities who have already given so much. We are confident that our School is poised to make sustainable change at the institutional level."



Top 10 sustainable university

We are ranked 9th in the world out of all the institutions featured in the tables for our efforts in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 17: partnerships for the goals.

The University has established its position as an international pioneer in sustainability practices, research, education and engagement.