Medical Students

Medical Students - The ailing world environment (and DEA) needs you.

We would like students to have greater involvement in Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), both in ideas and actions. DEA is a relatively new organisation of doctors and students, which aims to address the health impacts of environmental change. The effectiveness of the organisation depends on the voluntary contributions of its members.
Student membership is only $10, and allows you to receive all the benefits of full membership including regular updates of the activities of DEA.
Here is a list of suggested ways that students could assist DEA to become more effective.

A very good iDEA

Kitty Soutar (DEA students NSW representative, University of Sydney student),
Sophie Gascoigne-Cohen (iDEA co-convener, University of Melbourne student),
James Correy (DEA students publications rep, University of Tasmania student),
Imogen Hamel-Green (iDEA co-convener, University of Melbourne student) and
Liz O'Brien (iDEA co-convener, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle student).

In early December, just prior to the much-hyped United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, 40 medical students, representing 11 medical schools, descended upon Melbourne for 'iDEA', the inaugural gathering for the student division of Doctors for the Environment (DEA).

DEA National Student Committee

All committee members are contactable via

National Representative
Janie Maxwell

State Representatives
QLD - Arthur Cheung
NSW/ACT - Kitty Soutar
VIC - Alex Chen
TAS - Tom Luckman
SA - Magda Halt
WA - Dane Brookes

Sarah Blakeley

National Project Officer
Imogen Hamel-Green

International & NGO Liason Officer
Sophie Gascoigne-Cohen

Kevin Lo
Magda Halt

Publicity Officers
Liz O'Brien

Doctors, Medical Students and the Environment

Connecting doctors and medical students with their role in environmental protection and stewardship using the language of medical ethics and human rights
by Jen Moran, 1st Year Medical Student, ANU Many doctors and medical students appear hesitant to become advocates for environmental protection and sustainable development. This is not to say they do not care, but that they may not see the connection between the practice of medicine and the health of the environment. But this does beg the question, if our role in the doctor-patient relationship is the commitment to the relief of suffering, then how can we deny our responsibility to contribute to a healthy environment? Human suffering and the state of our environment are intrinsically linked. By ensuring that our environment is healthy—our water is clean, our soil is fertile, our exposure to harmful chemicals is minimal, and our ecosystems are in good working order—we are in essence providing the ultimate public health intervention.

Two articles on global warming and health for DEA student members

To open this medical student section of the Doctors for the Environment web page, we are printing two articles that will illustrate to you that global warming is one of the major health issues facing humanity. In using the term ‘health issue’ we are using the word health in its widest sense for the World Health Organisation has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The article on “The Worlds Fragile Islands” is about global warming which will lead to sea level rise and the inundation of many small islands around the world. As you read this article, please ask yourself ‘what are the health implications?’. Then at the end of the article there is a commentary in which this question is answered. I think you will see why Doctors for the Environment has made global warming its priority in lobbying Ministers and Members of Parliament prior to the coming election.

Climate Change and the Worlds Fragile Islands

Considered from the low-lying point of view of Pacific islanders or circumpolar-dwelling Inuit, the Kyoto Protocol on environmental protection seems an exploitative deal between those in the North who already pollute heavily and those in the South who want to do the same.


Some 600 idyllic islands in the South Pacific make up Micronesia; perhaps not so idyllic any more, as in recent years half of the 150,000 inhabitants have had their houses damaged or destroyed by storms more frequent and violent than before. Sea levels rose in the region through the second half of the 20th century, and this, linked with exceptionally high tides and unpredictable rain, exacerbated the intensity of the storms. As coastal erosion increases, salt creeps into the water table and ruins plantations, while rising temperatures nurture parasites that attack copra plants.

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