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How are we partnering for planetary health?
Providence Health Care is encouraging collective action for environmental sustainability in health care.

Lightning Talk: Planetary Health and Environmental Sustainability at Providence Health Care  – Dr Kristine Chapman and Anthony Munster, ED, Projects, Planning & Engagement 

Engaging for change

In early 2024, Providence Health Care (PHC) medical staff and partners hosted a provincial-wide engagement event on Planetary Health, to:

  • showcase physician-initiated projects
  • generate new ideas for achieving environmental sustainability in daily practice; and
  • foster partnerships for collective action.

Planetary Health has emerged as a key priority for PHC medical staff and the PHC Physicians and Surgeons Society (PASS). The idea for the engagement event was sparked by a smaller Department of Medicine Innovation round table.

Collective action and change 
Eighty people attended, including PHC medical staff and other MSAs, the Providence Environmental Sustainability Team, and health authority leaders – who spoke to the importance of taking collective action on climate change in health care settings.

Project showcase 
The event showcased several physician-led projects for sustainability in daily practice.

  • reducing food waste  
  • reducing clinic visits and resource utilization through virtual care
  • decreasing the carbon footprint of anesthetic gases in the operating room
  • reducing waste in operating room
  • reducing impact of pressurized meter dose inhalers
  • reducing unnecessary heparin use  

The event served as a catalyst for change and collaboration.

  • Audience members discussed additional ideas for change in small group discussions that could be incorporated into the health authority’s broader Planetary Health Strategy.
  • A physician leadership role, funded by Facility Engagement, will support PHC strategy development. 

Lessons and success factors

  • Showcasing real-life work underway and its impacts inspired even more ideas from the audience.
  • Bringing all partners together with medical staff from across BC planted the seeds for collective action: Providence Environmental Sustainability Team, Fiona Dalton, President and CEO of PHC, Anthony Munster, Dr Andrea MacNeill, VCH Regional Medical Director for Planetary Health.

“The effects of climate change are burdening an already exhausted health care system, and at the same time, the health care system is major player in impacting climate change.

But we are really inspired that around the world, health care providers are stepping up to meet this challenge. We can, as physicians, be leading voices in the climate arena, and the mechanism to do that is through engagement and through partnerships” - Dr Kristine Chapman



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