2023 Planetary Health Campus Ambassador Program in Review

Planetary Health Alliance
4 min readFeb 13, 2024

Ursula Gately | Community Building and Engagement Coordinator

PHCA Arfa Shan watering a lemon tree at the launch of her project “Grow Green Gardens” at Fatima Jinnah Medical University

“PHA represents youth, but it also involves and gives voice to youth beyond nominally” — PHCA and PHA Constellation Project intern Cindy Xie.

As we reflect on this past year, we are thrilled to share the remarkable journey of our Planetary Health Campus Ambassadors (PHCAs). With over 120 ambassadors representing 70+ universities across 30+ countries, together, the ambassadors created a vibrant tapestry of collaboration. Through their passionate advocacy and tireless efforts, the PHCAs played a pivotal role in raising awareness on Planetary Health and have been strong advocates for positive change in their local and broader communities. Whether drafting policy briefings on climate resilient systems in the United Arab Emirates or designing academic electives on Planetary Health at the University of Pavia, their enthusiasm and creativity have garnered widespread attention and appreciation among members of the Planetary Health community and newcommers to the field. Their impact will be felt for long to come, as they hit the ground running as changemakers within the broader Planetary Health community. With 2023 wrapped up, we are excited to share just a few of the 2023 PHCA cohort’s vast and profound accomplishments.

Image of Grow Green Gardens Project Collection Bins and Opening Day Festivities

PHCA and Steering Committee Representative Arfa Shan worked with her institution, the Fatima Jinnah Medical University in Pakistan, on a community project entitled, “Grow Green Gardens.” Through this project, she implemented a solid and liquid waste recycling and disposal system, both raising awareness and allowing for proactive separation of wastes.

Image of “Cultural Transformation for Planetary Health” gathering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cindy Xie, PHCA and PHA Constellation Project intern, hosted the “Cultural Transformation for Planetary Health” series, which gathered students and speakers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on topics ranging from water rights, climate writing, and spirituality.

Image of PHCA Duaa Mohamed presenting on her project, EcoRx.

PHCA Duaa Mohamed created a project, entitled EcoRx, which focused on reducing the environmental impact of leftover medications from household through promoting safe disposal of medications and reallocation of surplus medications in the United Arab Emirates.

PHCA and Clinicians for Planetary Health, C4PH, coordinator Yinmi Oladeji taught a two-month, project-based boot camp on solid waste management at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.

Other students focused their attention outside of their campus environments, such as the Brazilian PHCA cohort, who organized a webinar bringing together students across the country to create space for a broader conversation of Planetary Health in their community.

Image of PHCA Jibola Raheem educating students about environmental decision making

Another example would be the work of the PHCAs at the University of Ibadan, who worked with an awareness program to educate students at local high schools about environmentally-friendly behaviors and decision making. They also collaborated with community leaders in Ibarapa, South-Western Nigeria to advocate for the need to protect the biodiversity to address the rising risk of zoonosis.

Images of PHCA Justus Rotich at a tree planting event with others associated with University of Eldoret

PHCAs at University of Eldoret cohosted a tree planting event at Rimoi National Game Preserve, in Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya.

As we look back on the past year, we are incredibly proud of the collective impact achieved by the PHCAs, and we are excited to build upon the momentum generated by the PHCA program and this cohort in particular as we continue to empower voices across the world

PHA is incredibly grateful to each and every ambassador who has contributed to the success of our program. Their dedication, creativity, and passion have been the driving force behind our achievements, and we are excited to see what the future holds. These PHCAs have shown that the PHCA program is not just a program, but rather a movement. It is a call to action for the young minds of today to become the change agents of tomorrow. They have proven that together we can build a world where Planetary Health is a priority and the well-being of our Planet, Earth’s ecosystems, and all of Earth’s inhabitants are preserved for generations to come.



Planetary Health Alliance

Generating better understanding of the links between accelerating global environmental change and human health to support policy making and public education