Sustainable Health Network

Driving sustainable solutions to global health challenges

The Sustainable Health Network (SHN) is an initiative led by Deakin’s Faculty of Health. The SHN acts on Deakin’s Toward 2030 Strategic Plan commitments to carbon neutrality and sustainability.

Our mission

The SHN is a trusted leader in generating knowledge and translating evidence to real-world solutions with a multidisciplinary, co-designed and systems approach to sustainable health. We have expertise in three focus areas, including:

  • addressing the health impacts of environmental change and unsustainable living, by focusing on priority populations/settings and prevention
  • creating and promoting more environmentally sustainable and less wasteful healthcare systems
  • promoting healthy and sustainable food systems.

At the heart of everything we do is a focus on finding new and improved ways to promote human health while not harming the environment. The SHN is overseen by the Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, Deakin Distinguished Professor Rachel Huxley, and guided by the SHN Advisory Group and SHN student leaders.

Help us address sustainable health challenges

The network brings together educators, researchers, community stakeholders and industry leaders to address sustainable health challenges, including climate change, environmental degradation and unsustainable living. Learn how you can get involved with the SHN.

Our focus areas

We deliver research, education, workforce capacity and strategic partnerships for sustainable health around three priority areas.

Health impacts of environmental change and unsustainable living

Human health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to the health of the natural environment. Climate change, environmental degradation and unsustainable living are causing a range of physical and mental health impacts that require evidence-based, systems thinking and co-designed interventions. This focus area explores these physical and mental health impacts at individual, organisational, community and population scales. Our initiatives aim to protect and promote human health, especially among priority populations, as well as health of the natural environment in an era of rapid environmental change.

Sustainable and less wasteful healthcare systems

Australia’s health system is responsible for approximately 7% of national greenhouse gas emissions. Our sustainable healthcare initiatives focus on responsible consumption, production and efficient allocation of resources in the health sector. We offer education and research on the future of environmentally sustainable health care, particularly the economic and financing impacts of climate change on healthcare systems.

Healthy and sustainable food systems

Ecological disruption poses a threat to future food supplies and food and nutrition security. While dietary behaviours pose a threat to the sustainability of food systems. As a result, global, national and local food systems and dietary behaviours need to transform. Our researchers and educators are generating evidence and capabilities to promote healthy, equitable and sustainable diets and food systems. Our work forms part of an international and national effort to synthesise and translate evidence into policy activities for healthy and sustainable diets and food systems.

Sustainable health education

Sustainable health education

We recognise the need to train health professionals who can work on the frontline of environment-related public health emergencies. Our education and training prepares pre-service and in-service health professionals with the knowledge, skills and values to confidently participate in an evolving health sector impacted by environmental change.

Learn to drive sustainable health outcomes

Learn to drive sustainable health outcomes

Co-designed with industry, the Promoting Human and Planetary Health short course provides you with an understanding of the interconnectedness of human and planetary health. Learn why it is important for the health of humans and the environment and how to work toward sustainable health outcomes. Plus, you’ll be able to gain half a unit of credit to apply towards a Deakin masters degree.

Recent publications

Asthma – The canary in the Australian coalmine: Making the links between climate change, fossil fuel and public health outcomes

A recent paper by members of the SHN highlights current evidence on the relationships between climate change, air pollution, fossil fuel use and their impacts on public health, using asthma as a case study.

Download the article (PDF, 295.8KB)

How to get involved

If you'd like to find out more about the Sustainable Health Network or contribute to our initiatives, please get in touch with our team.

Email the Sustainable Health Network