April 2023

Sustainability: a guiding principle for building a healthier, more equitable world For Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), sustainability is a guiding principle for building a healthier, more equitable world. Environmental Sustainability is one of the university’s Strategic Priorities– initiatives curated to ensure that MCPHS continues to prepare the healthcare and life sciences workforce of the future. Spearheading the effort is a team, led by three people with relevant expertise from different corners of the Community: Nicole Dettmann, DSc, MPH, PA-C, Associate Program Director, Associate Professor, Director of Clinical Education in the School of Physician Assistant Studies – Manchester/Worcester; Teresa Pitaro, Senior Director of Procurement in the Business Office; and Seth Wall, Chief Administrative Officer. “We need to start thinking about the environment as a social determinant of health,” Dettmann said. “As an institution focused on healthcare education, we have a responsibility to teach our students about these important issues and create a culture that increases awareness of and concern for the environment.” The team has determined four areas of focus for MCPHS: energy, waste, water, and purchasing. It is now in the process of collecting as much data as possible for each category. Debra Shepard, a consultant from Riverstone Sustainability, compared consumption rates and performance to other colleges and universities of similar size, identifying MCPHS’ strengths and opportunities. The team is currently reviewing the data to develop a baseline report to then set goals and brainstorm initiatives to drive progress in all four categories. Some initiatives may require changes at an institutional level, while others will only succeed with participation from individual students, faculty, and staff. The Team leads will share details about the baseline report in the coming months. “There appears to be a lot of lowhanging fruit that we can easily address at an institutional level to see results,” Pitaro said. “Other changes will take more legwork and cooperation from the Community, but it all feels achievable. None of the challenges we’re facing as a University are insurmountable.” The team is working to set goals that are both ambitious and attainable. They hope to embed environmental sustainability in the culture of MCPHS. W W W. M C P H S . E D U “WE NEED TO START THINKING ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AS A SOCIAL DETERMINANT OF HEALTH... AS AN INSTITUTION FOCUSED ON HEALTHCARE EDUCATION, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH OUR STUDENTS ABOUT THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES AND CREATE A CULTURE THAT INCREASES AWARENESS OF AND CONCERN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.” N I C O L E D E T T M A N N DSc, MPH, PA-C, Associate Pr ogram Dir ector, Associate Pr ofessor, Dir ector of Clinical Education in the School of Physician Assistant Studies – Manchester/Worcester