SIG Environment becomes a Working Party

February, 2012

The Wonca Special Interest Group (SIG) Environment continues to be active. We submitted documents noting our high level of activity, to the Core Executive Meeting, which was held in Warsaw, Poland, on September 6, 2011, with a proposal to upgrade the SIG Environment to the status of a Wonca Working Party. This proposal was supported in December 2011 by the Wonca Executive.

So we are now the Wonca Working Party on the Environment.

Our structure remains the same. Alan Abelsohn hosted a meeting of SIG Environment at Wonca South Asia region conference, in 2011, in Mumbai. Hopefully we will begin to develop our membership and interest in that region. Grant Blashki has set up a Facebook page for our WP Environment to increase communication and to reach out to the “next generation”.

Prof Alan Abelsohn, chair of the new Wonca Working party on the Environment presenting in Cancun in 2010.

Co-chairs wanted in Sfrica and EMR

We are looking for regional co-chairs in the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa regions.

Current projects

Greening the doctors’ office/ clinic.

We plan to develop a guide to “greening the doctors’ office” for distribution through Wonca, and national colleges. We can use existing materials, including those from the Doctors for the Environment Australia and the Ontario College of Family Physicians. Alan Abelsohn discussed this in Mumbai.

Climate change and health; The role of the family doctor

Chair We plan to develop a user-friendly power point presentation, with speaker notes and references that can be used by colleagues in Wonca and beyond. We will develop a network of interested family doctors, in collaboration with other climate change and health medical groups. 

Meetings attended and conducted 

Grant Blashki held a very successful conference in Melbourne in October, on sustainability in healthcare and climate change. Alan Abelsohn is running a series of workshops on climate change and the family doctor in Canada, at national and provincial family medicine conferences, and gave a plenary on climate change and health at Wonca SAR 2011, in Mumbai.

Ernesto Mola and Giorgio Visentin (from Italy) attended a World Health Organization (WHO) workshop on Radiation Safety in Geneva in September, and Ernesto is now a member of the Working Group for Global Imaging Referral Guidelines through the WHO Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Healthcare Settings. They presented at Wonca Europe in Warsaw.

Ezequiel Lopez attended an international meeting on occupational health and primary care, in The Hague, Holland, representing Wonca, in December and will continue to work with this group.


Our survey on the attitudes of family doctors towards climate change has been completed. The survey results will be analyzed and written up for publication. The group working on this are Grant Blashki and Claudio Villella (Australia) as leads, Gerald Koh Choon Huat (Singapore) and Alan Abelsohn (Canada).

Children’s environmental Health.

We would like to promote training based on the WHO Training Package for Health Care Providers on Children's Health and the Environment in collaboration with ISDE and WHO. Alan Abelsohn met, by conference call, with Ruth Etzel and her support staff, of the Children’s Environmental Health program, Public Health and the Environment, WHO, in January, and we continue to look for mutual opportunities to teach these modules. (The modules are also featured in this issue of Wonca News) html

Prof Alan Abelsohn