Who Are We? Why Are We Doing This? Can I get involved?

Good question. “We” are just a group of medical students who are catalyzed to action for climate change, especially in our role as future health professionals. This work all started in the fall of 2019 with the Medical School Student Council drafting a “Call To Action” to the Dean and other leaders, which resulted in the formation of an informal Medical School Climate Change Committee. This group works to identify areas of opportunity for us as a school to become more aligned on climate change initiatives from a health professional perspective. 

This webpage is meant to highlight University voices on climate change and sustainability as well as resources on our campus and globally for your use on Earth Day 2020.

Climate change is a global issue that requires many voices and collaboration. We invite anyone who is interested to fill out this form for more information, including committee membership.

Message from Dean Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

earth day


Opportunities for Engagement

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Join Health Students for a Healthy Climate on Thursday, April 23, at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom for a climate conversation hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine. This will be an open discussion about animal health as it relates to the environment and human health.

While we work to expand environmental health discussions in our own curriculum at the University, students currently wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the environment and human health can take this free, online course offered by the Harvard School of Public Health.


Medical Students for a Sustainable Future (MS4SF) is dedicated to uniting students invested in the health of our planet and patients by providing medical students with tools to make a difference at their institution and in the community through advocacy, curriculum reform, research and climate-smart healthcare. 

Becoming a member will connect you to a network of passionate students and keep you up-to-date with concise, monthly emails. There are infinite ways to become involved, and we are in great need of more medical student voices advocating for environmental health. MS4SF is an independent, medical student-led group advised and supported by Health Care Without Harm, an international non-governmental organization.



Coalition for Advancing Climate Health Education (CACHE)

CACHE is a group of students and faculty aimed at advancing environmental health in our curriculum by integrating relevant information in existing lecture structures and developing new lectures and elective courses. The group will meet once every quarter to re-evaluate progress, using the Planetary Report Card as a guide.

Take Survey

USCF National Survey

The survey consists of approximately 20 questions and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. You will generate your own study identifier (no names will be associated with the survey responses) to allow for maintenance of confidentiality, as well as to link data collected from you in the future when this survey is distributed again to track changes in student perceptions as climate health curricula changes over time. Survey responses will be saved on a secure, password-protected storage service, and only designated study personnel will have access to study data. If you are interested in participating, please click this link on your computer, tablet, or smartphone to complete the survey by June 14.

Take Survey

Earth Day Panel 2020

Climate Change Grants

The Climate Change Grants are an exciting challenge to graduate and professional students in the College of Science and Engineering and Medical School to utilize their expertise to help solve one of the biggest global challenges of today—climate change. The grants focus on reducing medical system material waste—a key issue to reduce healthcare’s impact on the environment. Awards are given to interdisciplinary teams to lead this charge, specifically to develop compostable materials and reduce material waste.

Below are the two groups who received the 2020 Climate Change Grants.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Cardiovascular Disease by Diagnosing Subclinical Pathology Using Artificial Intelligence

Abstract: Diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease represents a significant environmental burden due to high volumes of disposable products used in invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. We propose to decrease the environmental impact of cardiovascular disease by non-invasively diagnosing subclinical disease and initiating early treatment eliminating the need for invasive procedures. To do this, we will diagnose subclinical disease in a high-risk population. We plan to analyze non-invasive blood pressure waveforms using convolutional neural networks (a type of artificial intelligence) to diagnose subclinical cardiovascular disease. This result would be used to initiate early treatment, disrupting the natural pathological course. In addition to decreasing morbidity and mortality, the environmental impact of cardiovascular disease will be reduced eliminating a large portion of disposables associated with the invasive diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Team Members: Anthony Prisco, MD, PhD; Alex Deakyne, MS; and Weston Upchurch

Characterization and Prototyping of a Novel Biodegradable Intravenous Bag

Abstract: It is estimated that roughly 40 million intravenous (IV) bags are used each month in the U.S. and contribute enormous quantities of greenhouse gas emissions due to production through fossil fuels and degradation releasing methane. Additionally, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a key component of IV bag plastic, which generates toxic byproducts during synthesis and incineration. Polymethyl caprolactone (PMCL) based materials could be used as potential sustainable substitute for PVC-based plastics. To date, biodegradable IV bags have not entered the market likely due to high operational costs. As such, we propose proof-of-concept research and development of an IV bag prototype comprised of a PMCL-based polymer. Moreover, production of a bioplastic-based, biodegradable IV bag will advance knowledge of sustainable medical-grade plastic materials, contributing to the effort to reduce or eliminate PVC-based plastics in healthcare.

Team Members: Ranveer Vasdev, Tyler Gathman, Aaron Rosenblum, Alora Sager, Jamee Schoephoerster, Conor Nath, Amrit Vasdev, Stephanie Liftland, and Derek C. Batiste