Course syllabus for

Sustainable Development in Healthcare, 7.5 credits

Hållbar utveckling inom hälso- och sjukvård, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2014.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Sustainable Development in Healthcare
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Public Health Sciences 
Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Global Public Health
Participating institutions
  • Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine
Decided by
Styrelsen för utbildning
Decision date
Revised by
Board of Higher Education
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2014

Specific entry requirements

At least 120 credits within health care or medicine. Language skills equivalent to Swedish B and English A at Swedish upper secondary school are also required.


After the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the concept of sustainable development (its development and contents)
  • Explain relationships between health, disease and different aspects (ecological, economical and social) of sustainable development
  • Account for expected health effects of climate changes and discuss how these can be prevented and met
  • Analyse methods and strategies – national as well as international – to decrease environmental impacts of and upon humans
  • Analyse and reflect on the organisation of health care and its significance for sustainable health development (from cooperation between professions to international partnership agreements)
  • Explain relationship between health, disease and different aspects of sustainable development and be able to conduct a dialogue about these concepts considering the viewpoints of different health care professions


The course is based on the concept of sustainable development and its three aspects: the economical, the social and the ecological. The course begins with a historical view over the emergence, application and limitations of the concept, such as how work for sustainable development has been conducted and how the concept has been understood in various time periods, regions and from various perspectives Ecosystems and "planetary boundaries", economical growth and development theories such as social aspects (e.g. Human rights, local adaptions) will be discussed with regards to how they interact. The framework for the course discussions is thus systems theory: different aspects of sustainable development are processed with regards to how these relate to one another; different time periods; different levels of society (from the individual, local, regional to global level).

The other part of the course deals with the significance of different political models for the organisation of health care, such as how the work for sustainable health care systems can be organised and formulated. In the final part, the concept is made concrete through discussions in a number of case studies, which concretely demonstrate how work for sustainable development can be operationalised within Swedish and international health care. Examples of such case studies can be "Health effects of climate changes - risks and measures", "Health equity", "Prevention vis-à-vis healthcare", "the significance of the health care organisation for a sustainable public health", "Prerequisites for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable workplace". The case studies can vary depending on the lecturers and aim to illustrate, how the promotion of sustainable development can be concretised within the scope of different health care professions.

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of interactive lectures, workshops, case studies, seminars and independent project work.


The course is examined through participation in discussions at seminars and through an individual written assignment.

Compulsory participation
Seminars are compulsory. Absence from compulsory seminars is compensated by a written assignment, the form of which is specified by the course director at the beginning of the course.

Literature and other teaching aids

Kjellström, Tord; Håkansta, Carin; Hogstedt, Christer Folkhälsa, hållbar utveckling och globalisering
McMichael, A.J.; Lindgren, E Climate change: present and future risks to health, and necessary responses 270 (2011) :5, s. 401-413

Olsen, I.T. Sustainability for health care : a framework for analysis 13 (1998) :3, s. 287-298