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Planetary Health

Summer School Planetary Health

Climate change is a major global challenge and the biggest threat to health of the century. While geographic differences exist across regions creative solutions can be found in transdisciplinary and transformative collaboration.

The first Planetary Health Summer School  took place with more than 30 participants with diverse professional backgrounds from 10 countries (Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Kenia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia) from October 7 to16, 2022 in the University Hospital Würzburg. Some of the sessions with speakers from the US and African countries were online and were open to a wider audience. We welcomed participants from a wide range of backgrounds (public health, nutrition, pharmacology, medicine, physiotherapy, education, biogeochemistry, anthropology, geography, veterinary medicine, dentristry, health promotion, psychology, health economics, nursing, environmental medicine).

The second summer school is taking place September 1-10, 2023, again welcoming participants from a wide range of backgrounds to share perspectives from Eastern Africa as well as Europe and explore different global as well as local challenges in the context of climate change and other planetary boundaries. By applying a planetary health lens we will identify solutions for mitigation and adaptation relevant in European and African contexts.

The summer school offers a mix of educational methodologies and activities inside and outside the classroom with local and international experts, empowering participants to become agents of change and develop their own projects for transformative change. We aim to help students gain and develop knowledge, attitude, skills and confidence.

Students will

  • explore different topics from a planetary health perspective, such as nutrition, biodiversity, agriculture, mobility, sustainable health care, heat and urban planning, ethics, and many more
  • get inspired by case studies in a variety of settings
  • develop analytical and communication skills to engage with different stakeholders and trigger change
  • develop their own ideas and projects & exchange and network with other participants
  • develop their own transformative potential and become an agent for change in climate change mitigation, adaptation and planetary health whereever they study, work, and live.

To gain a deeper understanding of planetary health we recommend to have a look at the final report of the Lancet Commission on Planetary Health from 2015 and yearly updates of the Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health.

The Summer School is organized by the University and the University Hospital of Würzburg, the University of Bayreuth, the Catholic University for Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) Mwanza, Tanzania and the University of Eldoret (UoE), Kenya in cooperation with the German Alliance Climate Change and Health e.V. (KLUG) and the Else Kröner Center Würzburg-Mwanza. It is part of the projectSOPHEA (Strengthening One Health and Planetary Health In Eastern Africa), a project running 2022-2025 with many different (educational) activities in Eastern Africa, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

As the second of four planned summer schools, it will take place in 2023 from September 1 (afternoon) - September 10 (noon) in Würzburg on the campus of the University Hospital (UKW) and out in the nature.

This year's summer school will be similar to last year's. Until we have finalized this year's programme, please check out last year's.

Highlights include:

  • Excursions to agroforestry farm and ecological water conservation area around Würzburg
  • Sustainable Cooking class
  • Biodiversity project
  • Good practice example in climate resilience from different African countries and Germany
  • Participants with a diverse international background

We are trying to minimize the carbon footprint of our summer school as best as we can. We discourage you from flying to the summer school if you can prevent it, as airplane travel is associated with a huge amount of carbon emissions. The summer school is primarily aimed at participants from all over the world currently residing in Europe, other educational activities of the SOPHEA project take place in Eastern Africa or online. However if you have to fly, you are still welcome :-) We encourage you to compensate for the carbon emissions, find more information here.

From Frankfurt to Würzburg

If you arrive at Frankfurt Airport, the quickest and easiest way to get to Wuerzburg is by ICE-train. Trains only leave from Terminal 1, so if you arrive at Terminal 2 use the "Skytrain" or the bus to get there. At Terminal 1, follow the signs for "Fernbahnhof / long-distance trains". Tickets can be purchased via internet on or at ticket vending machines located in the train hall. If you need further assistance regarding the ticket purchasing process or your train departure, you will find a "Deutsche Bahn"-travel centre in the same building. The train ride from Frankfurt to Würzburg Main Station takes approximately 1 hour. Trains usually leave once an hour. Please take a look at the train schedules in advance at

From Würzburg Main Station to the University Hospital Würzburg

After your arrival at Würzburg Main Station, the university hospital can be reached within 15 minutes by tram. After leaving the station building, keep to the left to get to the tram stop "Hauptbahnhof Ost". At the tram stop watch out for tram "Line 1 or 5" heading to "Grombühl". Trams usually arrive every 5 min on weekdays and every 10 min on Saturdays. For more detailed information about the tram schedules, look out for information at the tram stops. To get to the Lehrklinik at the University Hospital leave the tram at tram stop "Uni-Klinikum Bereich D". Then turn right into Josef-Schneider-Straße and go a bit downhill. You will see the main gate (Josef-Schneider-Str. 2) at the opposite side of the street. Once you have passed the car barriers keep walking straight through the small gate and still straight until you find the entrance to building D5 on your right. 

You will be responsible for your accomodation in Würzburg, You can check out the options here.

Free lunch will be served as well as refreshments during the breaks, on some nights dinner will be included.

For a short introduction to the concept of Planetary Health please watch this 10-minute video from our colleagues the Planetary Health Alliance at Harvard University: