Act4Health – IFMSA-The Netherlands

Name of the activity: Act4Health

Country/NMO: IFMSA-The Netherlands

Program: Environment and Health

Contact information: contact [email protected] to get in touch with the Activity Coordinator

Type of the activity: Continuous Activity

Category: Advocacy

Focus area: Climate Change, Air Pollution, Fossil Fuels Divestment, Health Sustainability and Green Hospitals

Sustainable Development Goals addressed: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 17 (Partnerships)

General description:

Act4Health is an advocacy group that focuses on Planetary Health and the health impact of climate change and health. Our focus areas are 1) planetary health in public and political discourse on climate change; 2) implementation of planetary health in medical curricula; and 3) sustainable healthcare systems. Through campaigns, educational activities and writing policy recommendations, we aim to contribute to a healthy and sustainable future. 

Problem statement:

Climate change and environmental degradation are the greatest threat to global health of the 21st century. Climate change contributes to 23% of global deaths and has major effects on many health determinants. The WHO estimates climate change to cause approximately 250000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050. Yet (future) health professionals and health systems are not prepared for or adapted to this health emergency, nor is health a central theme in climate policies or debates. 

Target groups:

  • General population
  • Medical students
  • Healthcare Students
  • Other Students
  • Doctors
  • Other health professionals
  • Youth


  • General population
  • Medical students
  • Healthcare Students
  • Doctors
  • Other health professionals
  • Youth


1 Education: 

  1. Educate health professionals and students about planetary health, the impact of climate change on health, and the role of (future) health professionals in mitigation and adaptation
  2. Promoting the integrated implementation of Planetary Health in the medical curricula of all medical faculties in the Netherlands
  3. Advocating for co-creation of Planetary Health education by students and teachers


2 Public and political discourse

  1. Increase public awareness on Planetary Health and the relation between climate change and health
  2. Promote the integration of health as a central theme in climate action and policy in the Netherlands

Indicators of Success:


Feb 2023: create a PH intro course for health professionals and students & an interactive game explaining the relation between climate and health (‘Climate & Health Challenge)

End 2023: deliver these educational activities to >100 students & health professionals yearly >80% of participants report improvement in their knowledge about PH and can reflect on their own personal and professional role in this issue.


End 2021: develop an overview highlighting all relevant topics of PH to be included in medical curricula & fitting learning objectives (achieved)

March 2022: develop a practical toolkit providing health universities in the Netherlands with a step-by-step guide for the implementation of PHE (achieved)

End 2024: all 8 medical faculties in the Netherlands are working on the implementation of PHE, in collaboration with students. 

End 2025: all 8 medical faculties have implemented some form of PHE in their medical curricula. 


– Health ‘blocks’ or ‘groups’ present at each national climate protest in NL

– Coverage of the topic climate and health or PH at least 5 times a year in national media

– End 2024: health is mentioned as a theme in the national climate strategy



In 2021, we developed an overview of all relevant PH topics to be included in medical curricula and fitting learning objectives. In 2021-2022, we created a practical guide for health universities on how to implement PHE in curricula. We contacted relevant stakeholders at different medical universities to establish PHE teams consisting of both students and faculty staff to work on the creation and implementation of PHE in the curricula. We have currently established such teams in all of our own medical universities (4/8 in the Netherlands) and are reaching out to students from other universities to establish these teams in all universities. 

Public and political discourse:

Our efforts are dynamic and flexible, responding to current affairs in the Netherlands. We organize ‘health blocks’ at climate protests, campaign during elections, write articles, create (social media) campaigns, podcasts, write letters to politicians and contact several media to promote our health story. 

Plans for evaluation:

Education: We evaluate the achievement of the relevant milestones in our indicators. Through our presence at/contact with all medical universities in the Netherlands, we monitor the progress of implementation of PHE at each university. Furthermore, we are currently developing an evaluation method to measure the impact of our educational material on the knowledge and attitudes of students. This evaluation will be implemented in Feb 2023 on >100 medical students in Rotterdam to whom a first pilot of our PH intro course and Climate & Health Challenge are delivered.

Public and political discourse: Since our political advocacy is dynamic, it’s not possible to have a set method of evaluation. We try to evaluate our outcomes mainly by measuring our media presence and the media coverage of PH; the number of health and climate demonstrations on national and local level; the reach and engagement with our social media campaigns; and our engagement with politicians and other relevant stakeholders.

External collaborations:

Green Healthcare Alliance: national alliance of all organizations working on climate, health and sustainable healthcare. Collaborating on political strategy and campaigns

Med-Zero: alliance of initiatives working on PHE. Working together on developing the ‘Climate & Health Challenge’

Faculties of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Leiden and Nijmegen: established PHE teams, consisting of students and faculty staff

2022 we received funding from the Ministry of Health, for creating the PHE implementation guide


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