Monash Bioethics Review

, Volume 27, Issue 1–2, pp 65–82 | Cite as

Roles and responsibilities of health care professionals in combating environmental degradation and social injustice: education and activism

  • Martin Donohoe


This article describes the causes and health consequences of environmental degradation and social injustice. These issues, which impact primarily on the poor and underserved (both in the United States and internationally) are rarely or inadequately covered in the curriculums of traditional health care professions. The discussion offers ways for health care professionals to promote equality and justice and uses the example of Rudolph Virchow’s social activinsm to illustrate how one physician can lead society toward major public health gains. There is also an examination of the roles of institutions and organisations in enhancing environmental preservation and promoting social justice. Specific curricular suggestions from history and the humanities are offered for those teaching and mentoring new health professionals.


Global Warming American Medical Association Environmental Degradation Monash Bioethic Review Social Injustice 
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Copyright information

© Monash University 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Donohoe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community HealthPortland State UniversityUSA

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