Planetary Health for Primary Care

After the success of the Planetary Health Online Course, the WONCA Environment and TelessaúdeRS-UFRGS launched the Planetary Health course for Primary Care. With a focus on clinical practice and the reality of health professionals, the course is designed to introduce family doctors and other primary health care professionals and students, to the topic of Planetary Health; and to inspire and guide them to educate others or become advocates in various ways. 

The course was written collaboratively by many authors, committed family doctors and other health professionals from all regions of the world, so there are different world perspectives united in this material. 

The registration period is from 5 May 2021 to 19 December 2021. There is NO CHARGE for registration.

This online training course is organised in 7 modules on different topics, including Planetary Health & Climate Change, Air pollution, Heat Health, Climate-sensitive Infectious Diseases, Food and Planetary Health etc. Each module begins with related clinical cases and you will find the answers to unlock those cases as you progress through the respective modules. To bring an international perspective, these cases were taken from different parts of the world. Links to videos and related short articles are placed where relevant. In addition, links to videos and longer articles are also suggested for those who wish to delve deeper into the topics. Check out the course manual to learn more about its structure.

According to Jacqueline Ponzo, president of the Iberoamerican Confederation of Family Medicine (WONCA Iberoamericana-CIMF), Planetary Health is to understand that human life is linked to life on Earth. About the course, she says: "The Planetary Health Course for Primary Care allows us to explore the knowledge and deepen the reflection necessary to move towards a medical practice that takes the molecular biology of our cells as well as the planet's biodiversity. Everything is united ”.

Therefore, the course objective is to offer strategies to identify and deal with global health issues. After completing  the course, participants are expected to be able to understand and identify the concepts of planetary health and the intersections between citizen action and government, human health and a healthy planet. The course also aims to identify evidence-based policies for managing, mitigating and adapting to climate change and the environment.

Launch event

The course will be launched in an online event on 5 May at 1pm BRT, 4pm UTC, 6pm CEST, 9:30pm IST, on the YouTube page of TelessaúdeRS and will feature the participation of the WONCA team. The link to watch it is:

Check below what important Planetary Health authorities have to say about the course:

“This course is particularly timely and relevant because it both describes the pervasive threats to health from environmental change and also gives practical, evidence-based guidance on how primary care practitioners can support their patients to address the challenges and work with colleagues to transform health systems. It will become a landmark course for family doctors worldwide, and has been developed by a diverse group of family doctors and other health professionals, from all of the continents besides Antarctica”.

Sir Andy Haines, Professor Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“Primary health care clinicians are on the front lines in helping the world understand that protecting our planet’s natural systems is critical to safeguarding our own health and wellbeing into the future. They can do this in many ways: 1) through recognizing and communicating the role of environmental change in the patterns of disease they are treating; 2) through “greening” their practices, clinics, and hospitals; 3) through their roles as trusted messengers  communicating the many ways that patients can protect their own health while simultaneously protecting planetary health; and 4) through movement building and organizing to bring their voices together with those of others to advocate for urgent structural change in how we live in order to protect humanity and the rest of life on Earth. This course is a wonderful contribution to the educational toolset to bring primary health care practitioners up to speed on the science of planetary health and prepare them to assume these critical roles in a world that urgently needs their commitment”.

Samuel Myers, Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) Director, Principal Research Scientist, Planetary Health Department of Environmental Health Harvard University.


The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) is a global not-for-profit professional organization representing family physicians and general practitioners from all regions of the world. Founded in 1972 by member organizations in 18 countries, WONCA now has 118 Member Organizations in 131 countries and territories with membership of about 500,000 family doctors and more than 90 per cent of the world’s population.The Mission of WONCA is to improve the quality of life of the peoples of the world through defining and promoting its values, including respect for universal human rights and including gender equity, and by fostering high standards of care in general practice/family medicine.

About TelessaúdeRS-UFRGS

Created in 2007, TelessaúdeRS-UFRGS is a research center linked to the Post-Graduation Program in Epidemiology of the Medicine’s Faculty of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Since then, it has developed several projects and strategic actions aimed to attend to the main demands of the population, intending to improve health through telemedicine/telehealth.

The main actions consist of teleconsulting, telediagnosis, and tele-education use aimed at professionals working at Primary Health Care (PHC) and the PHC Support Centers within the scope of the Unified Health System (SUS). These actions focus on qualifying the teams’ work, assisting in clinical and managerial decision-making, as well as increasing PHC resolution. All the done work is guided by the principles of SUS and the best and most current scientific evidence.

Planetary health for family doctors - Foreword
Course Manual