Strategy and Vision

Climate Collaborative Action for Transformative Change in Health and Healthcare (CATCH ) Lab

Purpose: What we do

Accelerate the University of Melbourne's climate change and human health research, engagement and education for enhanced impact.

Vision: Our goal

Climate-resilient, sustainable and equitable communities and health systems.

Context: Why we do it

Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. The health and wellbeing impacts of climate change are multiple, diverse and inequitably distributed. Projections indicate alterations in the distribution of infectious diseases such as dengue, as well as non-communicable diseases, such as heat-related illnesses. Mental health impacts are increasingly apparent, particularly due to cascading and compounding extreme weather events in combination with the uncertainty of future years and decades. Increasingly frequent and intense weather events threaten the fundamental social and physical determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

Paradoxically, healthcare is a significant greenhouse gas emitter (4-6% globally) and contributor to environmental pollution. The health and healthcare sector, health researchers and educators are well placed to lead the necessary and urgent multi-sector transition towards net-zero decarbonisation and adaptation. Responses from the health sector include the building of climate resilient and environmentally sustainable health and healthcare systems, addressing the social determinants of health (e.g. housing, food and water security, education) and reducing climate-health inequities that disproportionately affect young people and many in our Indo-Pacific region.

Transformations to protect and promote health in the face of climate change require collective action, interdisciplinary research, creativity and a focus on equitable solutions that deliver multiple benefits. Evidence-based solutions exist to address these challenges, so the time is now to be bold in ramping up our policy-relevant research and related activities.

Approach: How we do it

A collaborative interdisciplinary network of researchers, educators, practitioners and strategic thinkers, advancing knowledge and action at the nexus of climate change and health across nine streams. We do this by:

  • Fostering and advancing interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral research collaboration;
  • Mobilising and building resources and advocacy tools for education, research and action;
  • Creating and sharing knowledge to inform public, policy and scientific debate; and
  • Promoting knowledge exchange and advocacy with students, health practitioners, researchers, policy makers and communities.

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