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2023-11-20| Asia-Pacific

Singapore’s NUS Medicine Launches Centre for Sustainable Medicine

by Sinead Huang
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The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) has recently announced the launch of the Centre for Sustainable Medicine. Positioned as the largest institution of its kind globally and the first in Asia, the center aims to lead the healthcare sector’s response to climate change, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from healthcare systems, and fostering climate-resilient health practices that accelerates the net zero transition.

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NUS Medicine’s Ambitious Mission and Leadership

Led by Professor Nick Watts, appointed as the world’s first Professor of Sustainable Medicine, the Centre for Sustainable Medicine seeks to revolutionize medical education, pioneer research in low-carbon care, and assist global health policymakers in transitioning to net zero healthcare. Professor Watts, former Chief Sustainability Officer of the National Health Service (NHS), brings extensive experience in achieving significant carbon emission reductions in a large healthcare system.

Acknowledging the significant carbon footprint of the healthcare sector, the Centre for Sustainable Medicine addresses concerns highlighted in a research survey commissioned by the center. A notable 82% of health professionals in Singapore support actions toward a more sustainable health system. The center, representing NUS and Singapore, plays a key role in the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28), focusing on the health implications of climate change and contributing to global consensus-building on transformative health system actions.

Early Initiatives for Sustainable Healthcare in Singapore

The Center outlines three early initiatives to support Singapore’s commitment to reducing emissions and becoming a leader in sustainable medicine. These include a Clinical Fellowship in Sustainable Medicine to transform medical education, a comprehensive assessment of the carbon impact of healthcare in Singapore, and hosting the inaugural meeting of the Lancet Commission on Sustainable Healthcare in 2024. These initiatives aim to embed sustainability principles in medical education, chart a path for Singapore’s health system, and contribute to global strategies for sustainable healthcare.

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