UCSF Sustainability Stories


Deborah Fleischer & Jennifer Armenta, Green Impact, December 2015


UCSF Resident Dr. Nicole Jackman Presents at Climate Neutrality Conference

EarthNicole Jackman, MD, PhD, Resident Physician, Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, recently presented on the efficient utilization of inhaled anesthetics at the UC San Diego Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit.  Her passion about the link between climate change and health care began during her UC President Sustainability Student Fellowship Program.

As a physician in the Department of Anesthesia, Nicole had always had interest and knowledge of anesthesia, but she admitted that, she did not know about the environmental harm that is present in these agents, which we use on a daily basis. When asked by her faculty mentor, Dr. Seema Gandhi, Assistant Professor at UCSF’s School of Medicine, to join her on a project about the possible harm of anesthesia, Nicole was eager to learn more and thought it was important to share such vital information with her colleagues.

Her project focused on how to achieve more efficient utilization of inhaled anesthetics, which she found contain environmentally deleterious greenhouse gases (GHGs). Her hypothesis concluded that a reduction in fresh gas flows (FGFs) would significantly decrease volatile agent consumption and subsequently result in a reduction of purchasing costs at UCSF. “Honestly, it seemed like common sense,” she said. “If we could educate people, we could create real change.” Nicole received invaluable support and guidance from Dr. Seema Gandhi, a champion of sustainability, who has been a mentor to her in both her personal and professional life. Nicole explained that, “one of the most meaningful parts of the fellowship was her interactions with other fellows.” She shared that, “the sustainability fellowship taught me more about climate science and policy, and the milestones that climate scientists hope to attain in the future.” She said, “I was particularly impressed with the number of young people involved who were eager to make changes within their campus under the leadership and vision of Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California.”

UC San Diego Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit

NicoleNicole’s research on inhaled anesthetics won her a spot at the UC San Diego Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit. Here, she highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability, with the emphasis on how a reduction in inhaled gas usage via decreased FGF is both economically and environmentally advantageous. Nicole also discussed how medical centers and hospitals can, and should, be involved in creating a culture of sustainability, and called out how there is more room for improvement in hospital energy efficiency.

Having the opportunity to present at the conference provided her with a renewed passion for sustainability. She recalled that “there were people from a number of fields, from basic research, problem-solving, and policy implementation, all working towards the common goal of energy efficiency and sustainability. That irrespective of our interests, backgrounds, and knowledge base we are all contributing to creating a healthier future.”

Nicole wanted to continue the work that she had started during her previous fellowship and applied to, and was just selected, as one of two chosen for the UC President Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellowship Program. She favored this program as it will help her continue her research on how anesthetic gases are green house gases and their contribution to global warming. She found that her topic fit well under the framework of the carbon neutrality initiative and hopes to better understand how current habits are promoting climate change and encourage behavioral change in the industry.

To see the recording of the her presentation as part of the student presentations at the Summit, please go to this link.

To learn more about Nicole’s work:

Photo: Nicole Jackman (2nd from right) with the other participants in the “Voices of the Future” panel at the UC San Diego Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit.

Story by Green Impact