Arianne Teherani created a groundbreaking curriculum to teach medical students and other future health professionals about the impacts of climate change on human health. Her work is designed to help future doctors, pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists, and dentists understand and prepare for the challenges ahead.

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Arianne is a Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco. In addition, as the Director for Program Evaluation, she oversees the planning and design of the School of Medicine Curriculum. As an educational researcher in the Center for Faculty Educators at UC San Francisco, Arianne focuses on developing effective clinical teaching practices. She is actively involved in both educational research and sustainability groups, and recently chaired the UCSF Academic Senate Committee on Sustainability. She holds a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California.

To learn more about Arianne visit her profile page.

Arianne works at the intersection of education and medicine. Health professionals will increasingly need to care for patients suffering from climate change-related health issues like the spread of infectious disease and a lack of food security. By transforming the healthcare curriculum, Arianne hopes that future practitioners will be prepared to confront these issues and aware of the larger context behind them.



Arianne designed a curriculum that teaches environmental issues in healthcare at U.C. San Francisco’s health professional schools, making it the first school in the country to teach this cutting-edge issue to medical and pharmaceutical students. The curriculum has also been implemented at Georgetown, Yale, and Mt. Sinai, as well as in several European institutions. It is designed to teach students about how the environment and climate change impact health; it also introduces them to the ways that the healthcare industry impacts them to the environment. Specifically, Arianne’s project:

  1. Identified a core set of learning objectives to help future health professionals understand the relationship between environment and health
  2. Developed effective strategies for teaching those objectives, including an elective course, a required lecture, and participation in small discussion groups.

Students who participated in the first elective course went on to use that education towards activism on campus, developing the student-led Committee on Climate Change Policy Response to address sustainable policy issues on campus, starting with a “Beef-Free UC.”

Arianna Teherani presenting her work on a screen.

Arianne presents her curriculum model at the 2016 UC Carbon Slam.


What is a common misperception from non-scientists about climate research?

A common misperception from non-scientists is that humans are not responsible for changes to climate.

What is the most rewarding part about being a UC Climate Action Champion?

The most rewarding part about being a UC Climate Champion is being recognized for the importance of educators in moving mitigation forward.

What do you hope your project contributes to your university, the UC-system, and society?

My goal is to make climate change and the effect of the environment on health a part of health professional’s education. Also, I want to build awareness about the responsibility for change amongst learners.

What is one thing you want to tell non-scientists about climate change?

We are all responsible. Recognizing that, internalizing it, and making it a part of our education starting from when we are young is critical to sustaining the planet.


• Developed a core set of learning objectives and strategies for teaching future healthcare professionals about climate change-related health issues

• Created a curriculum at UCSF to teach students about the intersection between climate change and health

• Inspired students to form the student-run Committee on Climate Change Policy Response

• Collaborated with medical schools in the US and elsewhere to adapt the climate change and health curriculum


Arianne Teherani headshot
"A common misperception from
non-scientists is that humans
are not responsible for
changes to climate."
Arianne Teherani headshot
"My goal is to make climate change
and the effect of the
environment on health
a part of health professional’s education."
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Arianne Tehrani discusses the responsibility of healthcare professionals to focus on sustainability and its relationship to public health and her work identifying objectives and methods to do so.

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