Hold that flight: medical student’s residency interviews equal 1/3 of a Canadian’s annual carbon budget

People and Places | Strategy 3: Thriving Communities
Theme: Innovation
Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Like thousands of other medical students in Canada, Dr. Kevin Liang had no idea he would be asked to take more than 10 flights during his last year for in-person residency interviews. “After learning this, I knew I had to quantify the climate impact from thousands of students travelling for CaRMS (the Canadian Resident Matching Service).”

Dr. Liang, a UBC Family Medicine resident in Vancouver, along with co-authors Jessica Dawson (U.Alberta) and Matei Stoian (UBC), and three other co-authors from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, UBC, and Concordia University, quantified the impacts of this practice in a study in the journal Medical Teacher, “A carbon footprint study of the Canadian medical residency interview tour.” The results were sobering, but also offer a clear path for action:

“Mandatory in-person residency interviews in Canada contribute significant emissions and reflect a culture of emissions-intensive practices. Considerable decarbonization of the CaRMS tour is possible, and transitioning to virtual interviews could eliminate the footprint almost entirely.”

Now Kevin and co-authors are supporting a culture of engagement and advocacy to #keepCaRMSvirtual as part of efforts to decarbonize the entire Canadian healthcare system.

Please visit the UBC Climate Emergency website to read the full story.

Through Strategy 3: Thriving Communities, UBC is advancing sustainability and wellbeing through renewal and innovation in our learning environments, operations and infrastructure.