Sustainable Health Network (SHN)

Driving sustainable solutions to global health challenges.

About the Sustainable Health Network

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

We deliver research, education and partnerships relating to the overlapping themes of enabling a sustainable world and improving health and wellbeing. Our priorities closely align to global and local mandates for change including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Our mission

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

  • 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

The network brings together educators, researchers, community stakeholders and industry leaders to address sustainable health challenges, including climate change, environmental degradation and unsustainable living. 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 – Health, chaired by the Director, Sustainable Health Network, and guided by the SHN Advisory Group and SHN student leaders.

Dr Rebecca Patrick
Director, Sustainable Health Network
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Professor Rachel Huxley
Executive Dean – Health
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Connect with us

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.

Human health and environmental change: impacts and interventions

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 healthcare

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 healthcare, particularly the economic and financing impacts of climate change on health care 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 will 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 for training of our health professionals who 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. Our training and scholarly research is centred on the modern demands of this new workforce, focusing on developing graduates with capabilities in multi and inter-disciplinary working.

How to get involved

If you'd like to find out more about the SHN or contribute to our initiatives, please contact:

Dr Rebecca Patrick
Director, Sustainable Health Network