UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, October 2013

UCSF Academic Senate Creates a Permanent Sustainability Committee

ArianneStarting the 2013-2014 FY, the Academic Senate Sustainability Task Force was made into a permanent standing committee, reflecting UCSF’s ongoing commitment to integrating sustainability into its core operations and curriculum.  Arianne Teherani, Director for Program Evaluation at the School of Medicine, will be the chair of the new Sustainability Committee.  The other members include:

*  Robert Gould
*  Michael Martin
*  Tim McCalmont
*  Susan Ryan
*  Steven Schroeder
*  Ellen Weber
*  Torsten Wittmann

UCSF is the only UC campus with an Academic Senate standing sustainability committee.  According to Teherani, the new Committee Chair, sustainability is important at UCSF because, “much of what we do in the education, clinical and research realm has a significant impact on the environment and we want to be sure we are building into our day to day practices thoughts on sustainability.” 

The Sustainability Committee will focus on two key issues over the next year:

Curriculum:  To move the education agenda forward and assess sustainability curriculum at all the schools; and

Implement the Antibiotics Resolution:  Engage food services and work as a team to identify the sources of sustainable agriculture.

Sustainability Curriculum

While still in the preliminary stages, Latifat Apatira, a third-year resident in the UCSF/Kaiser joint internal medicine/preventive medicine residency has been researching where sustainability already exists in the UCSF curriculum and where
sustainability topics can be added. The longer-term goal is assess sustainability curriculum at all the schools, thinking about what are the important areas where UCSF wants to be sure sustainability is included in the curriculum.  According to Arianne, ultimately, the Committee wants to create a template/protocol for how each school can include sustainability without necessarily increasing time in the curriculum.  The initial research at the medical school has shown that certain topics that are already being taught are part of sustainability for a health professional, but not specifically called out as “sustainability”.  Once the competency assessments are complete for all schools, the Committee will work with course directors to explore incorporating new material into the curriculum.

Implement the Antibiotics Resolution

As detailed by Latifat, in her recent article on the issues associated with non-therapeutic antibiotics in meat, the UCSF Academic Senate unanimously approved a resolution in April calling on UCSF food services to phase out procurement of meat produced with the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics and urging all University of California campuses to do the same.

Implementing the antibiotics resolution will be the other emphasis of the new Sustainability Committee.  There is still much work to do to reduce UCSF’s purchases of meat raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics. UCSF will continue to work with Physicians for Social Responsibility and Food Services as a team to identify the sources for sustainable agriculture.