Planetary Health in der curricularen Lehre im Fach Humanmedizin – eine qualitative Studie zur Evaluation einer Lehr-/Lernintervention

Translated title of the contribution: Planetary Health in the mandatory undergraduate medical curriculum – A qualitative study to evaluate a teaching/learning intervention

Thomas Kötter*, Mieke Hoschek, Nadine Janis Pohontsch, Jost Steinhäuser

*Corresponding author for this work


Introduction: Climate change is the greatest threat to human health and therefore has a direct impact on the work of physicians. At the same time, the health sector is also an originator of pollutants that burden the climate. The concept of Planetary Health describes, among other things, ways in which the health sector can counter the effects of climate change. Nevertheless, the inclusion of contents on sustainable action in the education of health professionals has not been made mandatory to date. The aim of this study is to answer the question of how an intervention has to be designed so that medical students specifically develop an interest in dealing with the topic on their own. Methods: The intervention consisted of • learning about Planetary Health in a preparatory seminar for family medicine internship at a German university, • completing a specifically developed checklist (comprising eight items on mobility, energy and material) during the two-week internship in a family medicine teaching practice and • allowing access to a curated collection of materials on this topic (open educational resources like texts, podcast episodes and videos) on a learning platform.For evaluation purposes, a qualitative study with guided focus group interviews of attendees was conducted. The fully transcribed focus group transcripts were analysed using Mayring's structuring qualitative content analysis. Additionally, we checked the semester evaluation for feedback on the intervention. Results: Four focus groups comprising n = 14 medical students (11 female, 3 male) were conducted. Dealing with Planetary Health as a topic during medical education was considered relevant. The partially restrained to negative reaction of the teaching practice staff involved to the checklist had a demotivating effect. A lack of time was given as a further reason for not dealing with the topic independently. Participants suggested integrating specific Planetary Health content in mandatory courses and considered environmental medicine to be especially suited. As a didactic method, case-based working in small groups seemed to be particularly appropriate. In the semester evaluation, we found both approving and critical commentaries. Discussion: Participants considered Planetary Health a relevant topic in the context of medical education. The intervention proved to be of limited use in motivating students to deal with the topic independently. A longitudinal integration of the topic in the medical curriculum seems to be appropriate. Conclusions: From the students’ perspective, it is important to teach and acquire knowledge and skills regarding to Planetary Health in the future. Despite a high level of interest, additional offers are not being utilised due to a lack of time and should therefore be made part of the mandatory curriculum, where possible.

Translated title of the contributionPlanetary Health in the mandatory undergraduate medical curriculum – A qualitative study to evaluate a teaching/learning intervention
Original languageGerman
JournalZeitschrift fur Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitat im Gesundheitswesen
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 06.2023

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 109-02 General and Domain-Specific Teaching and Learning
  • 109-04 Educational Research on Socialization and Professionalism

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