Overview and Mission of the Planetary Health Program

The curriculum of Planetary Health is designed for medical students and will be offered in the Faculty of Medicine at UPEI as part of the Undergraduate Medical Education program across Phases 1 through 4.

The term Planetary Health is defined here as: “a solutions-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement focused on analyzing and addressing the impacts of human disruptions to Earth’s natural systems on human health and all life on Earth.” (see PLANETARY HEALTH – Planetary Health Alliance )

Our mission is to:

  • develop graduates who can work collaboratively with a planetary health lens to operationalize the enhancement of health in all its meanings and complexities, and especially to extend the concepts of planetary health to ensure the maintenance of physical, mental, and social well-being among patients.
  • graduate students that can contribute to solving complex problems that affect planetary health. Graduates will recognize the need to practice sustainable medicine that will lead to better planetary health outcomes.

The Planetary Health Program is a solutions-focused transdisciplinary program.

The curriculum focuses on developing essential knowledge based on theory and evidence from real-world planetary health issues.

The program is informed by the Planetary Health Alliance along with the Association of Faculties of Medicine Canada, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS), all of whom have identified the need to incorporate greater awareness of planetary health into the medical school curriculum.

The Planetary Health Program represents a new approach to training medical learners, healthcare providers, and the public about issues that influence planetary health.

Individuals who complete the Planetary Health program will be ready to build strong collaborative networks with other health professionals and thereby make meaningful contributions to solving real-world challenges and promoting policies that will lead to positive effects on planetary health.

To this end, the planetary health program focuses on developing individuals with the competencies required to bridge gaps between health systems, health researchers, health practitioners, and decision/policymakers in a manner that breaks down silos and enables professionals to work toward common goals to reverse the negative effects of humans on planetary health.

The program begins with the introductory course on Planetary Health in year 1. This is a 50-minute lecture offered in MED 5710 as part of the Introductions and Foundations theme — a regular semester offering in Year 1 of the UGME. The course is designed to provide essential background information on planetary health including one health, eco-health and climate change.

A second lecture is offered in this course (MED 5710) where students will focus on the rapidly changing global environment and how these changes impact the health of the population, the loss of biodiversity, the influence of emerging infectious diseases, and the threats to food and water security.

In Phase 1, as part of the research theme, students could consider issues in Planetary Health. As such, this program will introduce concepts of planetary health that may stimulate ideas for research opportunities.

In year 2 the student will be introduced to problem-based learning approaches that deal with planetary health problems. In this transdisciplinary course, the medical learner will interact directly with students from other academic disciplines to share, discuss, collaborate, and resolve real-world problems in planetary health.

In Year 3, an implementation science approach will be used to introduce students to the methods that lead to the resolution of problems in planetary health. This approach will incorporate live actors to simulate real-world scenarios that require the student to contrive interventions and problem-solving strategies.

In Year 4, students will have the opportunity to pursue research questions in planetary health as part of their research course or as a choice during “Selective and Elective” courses.


Principles of Planetary Health Copyright © 2022 by the authors. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book