• Climate Change and Health Home Page



    This Climate Change and Health course provides information about the effects of climate change on human health. All components of this training are free, including registration, learning, testing, and a certificate of completion. The course is intended for primary-care physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals in training and in practice.  

    This Climate Change and Health course was developed in partnership with Physicians for Social Responsibility, 350.org,  International Society of Doctors for the Environment,  George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and Health Care Without Harm. This course uses adapted competencies on climate change and health recommended by the  World Health Organization and the World Medical Association, and uses resources from accredited, world-class organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations, the  World Health Organization, and the World Meteorological Organization. The course developer is Erica Frank, MD, MPH and our Advisory Group is: Robert Gould, MD; Thomas L. Hall, MD, DrPH; Edward Maibach, MPH, PhD; and Bill McKibben. We gratefully acknowledge major contributions from: Dr. Mike Benusic; Ms. Yasmin Kassam; Dr. Max Pensel; and Dr. Caroline Walker.

        

    For a publication on this course’s efficacy, see “How an Entry-Level, Interdisciplinary Sustainability Course Revealed the Benefits and Challenges of a University-Wide Initiative for Sustainability Education,” (2015), International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1069910; see also “Building Public Health Capacity through Online Global Learning,” (2018), Open Praxis, https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/746/427; to see more research related to NextGenU.org’s educational model, check out NextGenU.org’s publication page.

    There are two components to this course. The first component involves completing 4 modules which provide: 

    1. An introduction to the science of climate change; 
    2. An overview of how climate change is affecting public health; 
    3. Strategies to predict and communicate climate change;  and suggestions on how we can adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

    In order to receive a certificate of completion, you will need to also complete the second, skills-based component of the course, which requires you to identify a mentor with professional health care training at least at the bachelor’s level, and with a certificate or other specific training in climate change, who can provide you with feedback on the assignments you submit. 

    The results of your assessments will be provided to you, and we can report your testing information and share your work with anyone you request (school, employer, etc.). The evaluation you provide at the course’s conclusion will help us improve the training for future students. We hope you find this Climate Change and Health course a wonderful learning experience!

    Approximate time for the required readings in this course is 29 hours at an average reading rate of 144 words/minute; in addition, there are required activities as described above.

    The course requires completion of peer and mentored activities. At the end of each lesson, there is a practice quiz. At the end of the course, after you’ve completed each lesson, quiz, and activity, you’ll have access to a final exam, and a chance to assess the training. Once you’ve passed that last test, you will be able to download a certificate of completion from NextGenU.org and our course’s co-sponsoring organizations (listed above). We keep all of your personal information confidential, never sell any of your information, and only use anonymized data for research purposes, and we are also happy to report your testing information and share your work with anyone (your school, employer, etc.) at your request. We hope that you will find this a rewarding learning experience, and we count on your assessment and feedback to help us improve this training for future students.

    Engaging with this Course:

    You may browse this course for free to learn for your personal enrichment; there are no requirements.

    To obtain a certificate

    • Show in the registration fields that you have the appropriate prerequisites to be certified [a high school degree for college courses, a college degree for the master’s level courses, and enrollment in or graduation from a medical doctoral program for our medical doctoral-level courses].
    • Complete all the reading requirements.
    • Complete all quizzes and pass with a 70% with unlimited attempts.
    • Complete the 3 peer activities and associated certification quizzes.
    • Successfully complete the final exam with a minimum of 70% and a maximum of 3 attempts.
    • Complete the self and course evaluation forms.


    To obtain credit 

    • Complete all requirements listed above for the certificate. 
    • Your learning institution or workplace should approve the partner-university-sponsored NextGenU.org course for educational credit, as they would for their learner taking a course anywhere.  
      • NextGenU.org is happy to provide your institution with:

        • a link to and description of the course training, so they can see all its components, including the cosponsoring universities and other professional organization cosponsors; 
        • your grade on the final exam;
        • your work products (e.g. peer and mentored activities), and any other required or optional shared materials that you produce and authorize to share with them;  
        • your evaluations -- self-, peer-, and [for mentored courses] mentor assessments;
        • a copy of your certificate of completion, with the co-sponsoring universities and other organizations listed. 

    We hope that you will find this a rewarding learning experience, and we count on your assessment and feedback to help us improve this training for future students.

    To obtain a degree co-sponsored with NextGenU.org, registrants must be enrolled in a degree program as a student of a NextGenU.org institutional partner. If you think that your institution might be interested in offering a degree with NextGenU.org contact us.

    Next Steps

    • Complete the registration form.
    • Begin the course with Module 1: Introduction to Climate Change. In each lesson, read the description, complete all required readings and any required activity, and take the corresponding quizzes

  • Competencies covered in this module: 
    1. Be able to discuss what climate change is and how it is related to weather
    2. Be able to distinguish normal climate variability versus abnormal/current climate change
    3. Be able to describe the reasons for the sudden and dramatic climate change in the recent past

    Click here for the brief module introduction 
  • Haze from spaceLearning Objectives

    • Describe climate change, including natural and human causes of climate change
    • Examine the relationship between climate and weather
    • Examine how temperatures and precipitation are changing over time
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 1 hour.

    Click here to start this module

    8 URLs, 1 Forum
  • GlacierLearning Objectives

    • Describe pre-industrial era climate change
    • Explain how global warming trends differ from historic climate change
    • Describe what kind of climate change (i.e. variability) is normal 
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 1 hour.

    Click here to start this module

    4 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
  • Coal Plant SmokestacksLearning Objectives

    • Describe the human activities that are contributing to climate change (burning fossil fuels, raising livestock, etc)
    • Explain the greenhouse effect
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    13 URLs, 3 Forums, 1 Quiz
  • Competencies covered in this module:
    1. Be able to discuss the different ways that human health is affected by climate change
    2. Be able to identify climate change-related vulnerabilities
    3. Be able to identify ways to protect and improve public health

    Click here for the brief module introduction

  • India childLearning Objectives

    • Compare direct and indirect effects of climate change on health and be able to describe how climate change-related weather events affect health (storms, floods, heatwaves, cold spells)
    • Compare chronic vs.acute health impacts
    • Understand how burden of disease is measured
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    15 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
  • Collecting waterLearning Objectives

    • Define vulnerability and key vulnerabilities in relation to climate change
    • List areas of the world as well as the groups of people that are most vulnerable to climate change
    • List the factors that make certain regions and/or populations vulnerable to climate change
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours.

    Click here to start this module
    10 URLs, 2 Forums, 1 Quiz
  • Children holding handsLearning objectives

    • Identify necessary actions to protect people from climate-sensitive hazards, including improving public health systems and disaster risk management
    • Describe how climate information can be used to improve public health
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours

    Click here to start this module

    4 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
  • Competencies covered in this module: 

    1. Be familiar with prediction models and methodology
    2. Be able to communicate climate change issues

    Click here for the brief module introduction 
  • People at white boardLearning Objectives

    • Understand prediction models of weather
    • Understand the models and methodology behind future climate change predictions
    • Understand how to monitor climate change
    • Appreciate the challenges of studying the relationship between health and climate change
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours

    Click here to start this module

    12 URLs, 1 Quiz
  • MicrophoneLearning Objectives

    • Be able to communicate uncertainty and risk
    • Describe how to communicate climate change issues effectively
    • Understand why some people resist the truth about climate change
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 2 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    5 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
  • Competencies covered in this module: 
    1. Be familiar with adaptation strategies
    2. Be able to describe how culture affects adaptation
    3. Be familiar with mitigation strategies

    Click here for the brief module introduction 
  • Sandbag WallLearning Objectives

    • Understand the role of adaptation and adaptive capacity
    • Describe some of the individual and social limitations to adaptation
    • Describe the costs and benefits of adaptation
    • Understand how some responses to climate change can be enacted within the domain of public policy
    • Understand how adaptation and mitigation strategies interact
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 2 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    7 URLs, 1 Quiz, 2 Forums
  • Women at well AfricaLearning Objectives

    • Understand the relationship between gender and adaptation
    • Describe the importance of indigenous knowledge for adaptation
    • Understand how different regions are adapting to climate change
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 1 hour.

    Click here to start this module

    5 URLs, 1 Quiz, 1 Assignment
  • Weather stripping windowLearning Objectives

    • Understand how adaptation and mitigation strategies interact
    • Describe how sustainable mitigation efforts can improve public health
    • Describe the health, environmental and economic benefits of mitigation.
    • Describe some individual-level mitigation strategies (e.g. changing diets, air travel)
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    16 URLs, 1 Quiz, 2 Assignments, 1 Forum
  • This optional module provides additional information on ste

    ps individuals can take to limit their own and others’ contributions to climate change through one’s personal, professional, and social service lives. Learn about "greening" your clinic, hospital, or other health system.

    Competency: Be able to describe how to "green" your clinic, hospital, or other health system.

    Learning Objective

    • Describe how to "green" your clinic, hospital, or other health system
    Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute): 3 hours.

    Click here to start this module

    3 URLs
  • In this section, you can provide feedback about this course to help us make NextGenU.org better. Once evaluations are completed, you will be able to download your certificate of completion. 

    Click here give your feedback