Climate and Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences

New Longitudinal Curriculum on Climate and Health

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences recently approved a longitudinal curriculum that will emphasize the impact of climate change on human health throughout medical school coursework. Current GW medical students conducted an in-depth curriculum assessment to find where climate change can be integrated into existing lessons, a process that took four years of momentous student and faculty efforts. Curriculum will also highlight environmental and social justice, and is set to begin taking place in Fall of 2023. Hear from some of the students that worked towards this change at WUSA9.

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Planetary Health Report Card

The GW University School of Medicine and Health Sciences was rated by its medical students for quality and depth of climate change curriculum. With a rating of "B" SMHS has made decent efforts on climate change initiatives but still has room for growth.

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Medical Students for a Sustainable Future

Medical Student Advocacy

Medical Students at SMHS are joining the fight to advocate for discussion of climate change in their curriculum and empowering themselves to be physicians that are aware of the health consequences of climate change on their future patients.

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The School of Medicine and Health Sciences currently offers several courses related to climate and health:


EMED 516 Wilderness Medicine

This is a two-week elective exposing students to the practice of medicine in extreme environments consisting of lectures, practicals, skill sessions and simulations/scenarios intended to expose students to the practice of medicine in extreme environments followed by a multi-day camping trip where students learn rescue carries, how to build shelters, and the basics of orienteering and knots. 

Med Student Clerkship Program


MED 338 Occupational and Environmental Medicine

This is a 2-4 week course where students are assigned to Washington Occupational Health Associates to address the effects of various occupational and environmental health hazards are addressed where the emphasis on the relationship of occupational and environmental medicine to primary care practice.


IDIS 361 Disaster Medicine

Disaster Medicine is the area of medical specialization that provides health care to disaster survivors and involves medically related disaster preparation, disaster planning, disaster response and disaster recovery leadership throughout the disaster life cycle.

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Environmental Health

IDIS 365 Environmental Health Track Elective

This is a 2-4 week elective where students choose a topic related to climate change and human health in conjunction with the course director.

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