Second year students at Bristol Medical School have been working on “The Global Environment and Human Health” module, and have achieved many great successes, including establishing a farmers’ market. The module is unlike anything previously taught at the medical school and appeared to Consultant Senior Lecturer Dr. Trevor Thompson as an excellent opportunity to do something new.

The Global Environment and Human Health module aims to achieve three objectives: to better understand the impact of human activity on the global environment; to understand the consequences of such changes for human health; and to discover creative ways medics can respond to these challenges. The eight-week module combines lectures and university-based learning with a direct action project.

One of the fantastic things to come out of this collaborative enterprise is a Farmers’ Market run by students on campus outside Senate House. The market was first launched in 2008, and has since become a fortnightly event. Students liaise with traders, fulfil health and safety requirements, promote the event and educate the public about the importance of buying and eating local food.

This is a good example of how everyone can become more sustainable by making a simple behavioural change. It is an opportunity for students to work with suppliers and the local community to create something for the benefit of people in the city outside of the university environment.

Integrating this work as part of their degree programmes means students get used to working both alone and in teams, and are encouraged to collaborate together. It gives students the chance to put into practice skills they are learning on their degree courses, and gives market traders the opportunity to reach a wider audience, while raising awareness of the benefits of supporting the local economy.

“I have found this course empowering. As medical students I find that often we are encouraged to think and understand things in a very black and white, boxed in way. This course has helped me to think outside of the box again, see other options for healthcare and look at the bigger, global picture of health. I hope that I have the opportunity to do more units like this in the future.”
Second year medical student

Please get in touch with us to find out more about this great project and see how you can get involved.

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