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Preparing Future Health Care Professionals for Climate Change Leadership

Preparing Future Health Care Professionals for Climate Change Leadership

Andrew Garman, PsyD, is working hard to ensure that future health care professionals leave their time at RUSH University understanding that climate change is fundamentally a human health issue. A professor in the College of Health Sciences' Department of Health Systems Management, Garman believes that health care providers are crucial in pursuing equitable solutions to these challenges.

An industrial psychologist by training, Garman has been teaching at RUSH for 25 years. He supports the learning and organization development department and the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values Transforming Chaplaincy Program. Garman also works as an advisor with the International Hospital Federation's Sustainability Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

Last year, Garman was part of a team that received a President's Collaborative Research Award with Heide Cygan, DNP, RN, and Santosh Basapur. PhD. ​The team surveyed university students and staff about climate change concerns and the effectiveness of the current curricula for equipping future health care professionals as planetary health leaders. The survey showed an opportunity for improvement, and the team is assessing options for expanding access to climate change and planetary health education across all university programs.

Garman also is a collaborator on a simulation program through the Geneva Sustainability Centre. In this, participants experience the challenge of reducing a hospital's carbon footprint by half within seven years while considering real-life variables.

Garman is passionate about equipping future health care professionals in this work because he sees what's coming with climate change and knows we need to prepare.

“Life is an incredible miracle," he says. “It's so wildly improbable that we are even here in the first place. I've been fortunate, and I want my kids and future generations to have as healthy of a planet as we can leave them."