Developing and Implementing Basic Children’s Environmental Health Competencies for Students, Trainees, and Healthcare Providers: A Narrative Review


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BMC Med Educ. Sep 24, 2021; 21 (1): 503. doi: 10.1186 / s12909-021-02921-3.


Knowledge of the health impacts of environmental exposures (such as pollution-related disasters, poor air quality, water contamination, climate change) on children’s health has increased significantly over the years. Last 40 years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 23% of all deaths in the world are attributable to the environment and that 26% of deaths of children under 5 could be prevented by removing the factors of environmental risk. Yet little has permeated medical education, leaving pediatric care providers ill-equipped to address these issues. To fill this gap, members of the Specialized Units in Pediatric Environmental Health, a US national network of affiliated academic experts who have created numerous environmental health educational materials and programs, identified fifteen basic environmental health (EH) competencies required. to health care providers to enable them to deal effectively with environmental health problems. These skills can serve as a foundation for the development and implementation of relevant educational programs. The basic EH competencies are based on these foundational elements: 1) Definition of ‘children’s environmental health’ which describes how environmental exposures (positive and negative) early in life influence childhood health and development and throughout human life 2) Children are not “little adults” and therefore have unique vulnerabilities to environmental hazards; 3) Inequalities in environmental health exist, causing some children to experience a disproportionate amount of unhealthy exposure and, therefore, a greater risk of adverse effects; 4) Climate change will result in many adverse health effects that will particularly affect children around the world. In this article, the authors describe the basic competencies in environmental health and provide resources, online tools, strategies and examples for all levels of training and practice to better enable leaders and educators to put this important content in the foreground.

PMID: 34560874 | DOI: 10.1186 / s12909-021-02921-3


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