Research teaching

Promoting a sustainable approach to healthcare teaching

  • Education

For several years, RCSI has aligned its strategic efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that act as a blueprint for the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

RCSI is particularly focused on the progress of SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing, ranking joint second in world for SDG3 in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.

Now, the University’s ongoing efforts have been recognised with Beacon Status in Sustainable Healthcare Education. This award is given by the UK’s Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), one of the world’s foremost institutions for sustainable healthcare and practice. This achievement recognises RCSI’s commitment to integrating a more environmentally, socially and financially sustainable approach to healthcare teaching.

A national first

RCSI is the only institution in the Republic of Ireland to hold Beacon Status. The University joins the ranks of other higher education institutions committed to sharing best practice in sustainable healthcare through the integration of sustainability into health professional education.

In particular, Beacon Status highlights RCSI’s activity in developing planetary health curricula in Undergraduate medical education.

Partnerships for the goals

Beacon Status is awarded as part of the Sustainability in Quality Improvement (SusQI) Education project. CSH created SusQI to provide health professionals with the tools they need to innovate for a more environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable health system. Funding and support for SusQI is provided by Health Education England, The Health Foundation, and Kings College London.

Now in its third year, SusQI is transitioning to a spread phase: providing high-quality open-access resources, supplemented by online courses for QI practitioners and educators, with additional support available for Beacon Status organisations.

Collaborations such as this with CSH can result in lasting transformational change and further enhance RCSI’s contribution to SDG progress.

Continued commitment

Another element of our work on the SDGs is a national project we are leading: Climate Health in Medical Education (CHIME). The aim of CHIME is to develop a shared planetary health curriculum for medical schools across the island of Ireland.

RCSI will also be participating in a comprehensive review by the UK Climate and Health Alliance of Net Carbon Zero in healthcare, which is commencing next month. Working with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, this initiative reflects our commitment to promoting sustainability in surgery.

Transforming education and the world

This Beacon Status award and recognition of RCSI’s contribution to the SDGs is timely, coinciding with Ms Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, visiting RCSI to deliver the Carmichael Lecture.

In the lecture, ‘Transforming Education to Transform the World by 2030’, Ms Mohammed recognised the many challenges currently being faced across the globe, particularly climate change and educational inequalities. Ms Mohammed highlighted the importance of seeing each of the 17 SDGs as integrated and equally vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Watch Amina Mohammed's lecture

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.