UCL Medical School


Our Initiatives

From a unique SSC to the Planetary Health Report Team, UCLMS is proud of of our various ongoing sustainability projects and have several key initiatives.



Our Pledges 

UCLMS staff voted for their top five pledges to improve sustainability at UCL Medical School:

  1. Only order environmentally-friendly stationery and supplies
  2. Have a PC and lights shutdown every Friday
  3. Reduce single-use items in Clinical Skills Centres and let students know
  4. Reduce food waste by ordering less for events, donating or composting leftover catering
  5. No longer buy single-use water bottles and signpost students to water fountains



UCLMS’ Sustainability Student-Selected Component

The SSC in Climate, Health and Sustainability is a unique course offered to 1st year UCL medical students by Dr Adesh Sundaresen, a UCLMS alumnus, who designed and leads it. Over 8 weeks, students learn about climate drivers and health consequences, adaptative and mitigative action and communication strategies.

The course involves a blend of lectures, group discussion and seminars delivered by leading experts from around the world including Professor Joacim Rocklov, Professor Godwell Nhamo, Professor Chris Rapley, Professor Kristie Ebi, Dr Cecilia Sorensen, Dr Shubhayu Saha & Dr Chris Brierley. 



The Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC) Team

Trizzha Feliciano, Catherine Napper and Luisa Alamo Gomez


  • Why is a PHRC team needed at UCL?

Medical schools are tasked with protecting people’s health through the proper training of would-be doctors, alongside protecting their students by preparing them for the reality of a life working in healthcare. Climate Change will no doubt impact both patients and doctors, everything must be done to avoid the worst possible outcome in a scenario many view as existential.

A PHRC team works to hold the medical school to account on this important issue of Climate Change and Planetary Health which are inextricably linked.

  • Why is it important that climate-health science and sustainable practices are integrated into the MBBS curriculum? 

Scientists predict increased mortality and morbidity from extreme weather events including heat waves and floods, and changing patterns of vector, food and waterborne disease. Reduced labour capacity and crop yields will contribute to food and water insecurity, and further downstream impacts such as migration, poverty exacerbation, violent conflict and mental health problems will no doubt also have major, widespread effects1,.

If we are to learn one lesson from COVID-19, it is that we must act early to avoid losing control of the impacts on our health and economy. Positive feedback loops are already accelerating the rate of warming, and narrowing our window of opportunity to respond. 

Our future is on this planet, our planet is our ecosystem, we are part of that ecosystem, and therefore our health relies on the planet.

  • What does the future of the PHRC team look like?

A team will continually review UCL’s planetary health and sustainable healthcare engagement, and work to improve it, bringing in new people across the different years at UCL as needed.

The international PHRC leadership team hopes to reach more schools, especially in other countries

  • How would you change the MBBS curriculum to better include topics of climate change/environmentalism? 

Every member of staff should understand the potential impacts of climate change on public health. Every part of the course should also take into consideration the potential changes to that areas work based upon the possible impacts of climate change and AI-assisted work.

Students should be aware of climate change as a threat to public health, health infrastructure, political stability, and global cooperation. The taught curriculum should prepare students for their future career as doctors in an ever-changing world, where the curriculum is behind the curve of change and innovation, students are learning what was rather than what is.




Sustainability Education Award

The Sustainability Education Award is a joint award for staff and/or students who have integrated a comprehensive sustainability education plan into the formal or informal curriculum. UCLMS is proud to have received several accolades this year, with winners including:

  • Adesh Sundaresan

Honorary Clinical Lecturer, UCL Medical School

Adesh designed and ran a novel module for medical students dedicated to empowering, educating and inspiring students on the health impacts of climate change.

  • UCL Medical School’s MBBS Climate Change and Sustainability Working Group

Tor Wright, MBBS Management Clinical and Professional Practice and Quality Assurance and Enhancement Unit
Medical students Florence Fowkes, Mehar Singh, John Ooi and Natalia Zernicka-Glover

This team of students and staff worked through the curriculum map, looking for opportunities to signpost and integrate issues linking healthcare, climate change, and sustainability teaching into the MBBS curriculum

  • Deanne Attreed, Partnerships and Projects Manager, UCL Medical School

As Green Champion for UCL Medical School, Deanne has been instrumental in introducing core student teaching within the Medicine MBBS Programme (2000 students), as well as being key in establishing the first medical Student Selected Component (SSC) in climate change and health in the UK

Deanne also worked with medical students to sign a Declaration of the Climate Change Emergency, which is a national initiative amongst UK medical schools.

  • UCL Medical School’s Planetary Health Report Card Team

Trizzha Feliciano, Catherine Napper, Luisa Alamo Gomez, Selina Aziz, Isis Gaspar Calado

This team researched and reviewed the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences’ commitment to climate change education and sustainability in the faculty’s curriculum, interdisciplinary research, community outreach, support for student-led initiatives, and campus sustainability, in addition to setting up a board to further improve the faculty’s engagement in the future as part of the Planetary Health Report Card (PHRC) Initiative