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Five University of California academic health centers have been honored for their ongoing efforts to address climate change and strengthen resiliency. The centers earned awards as part of the Health Care Climate Challenge, an annual global initiative organized by Health Care Without Harm, a non-profit advocacy group.  

UCLA Health earns top recognition

Among the recognitions received, UCLA Health was one of seven health care institutions from around the world selected as a Climate Champion, a new award honoring exceptional organizations from seven regions worldwide. UCLA Health received the 2023 Health Care Climate Champion award for the United States and Canada region.

With more than 200 participants in 2023, the Challenge encourages health care institutions to advance innovative solutions to mitigate health care’s climate footprint, implement adaptation strategies to withstand climate impacts and advocate for policies to protect the planet’s health.

UC academic health centers stand out

Each participating organization is evaluated based on work in three areas: mitigation, leadership and resilience, with a commitment to reporting progress each year and demonstrating transparency and accountability. UC academic health centers received a number of honors: 

  • UC Davis Health: Climate Resilience Award – Gold, and Climate Leadership Award – Silver
  • UCI Health: Climate Leadership Award – Silver
  • UCLA Health: Climate Champion (United States and Canada), Climate Leadership Award – Gold, and Climate Resilience Award – Gold
  • UC San Diego Health: Climate Leadership Award – Silver
  • UCSF Health: Climate Leadership Award – Gold

Ongoing commitment to sustainability

These recognitions underscore the commitment to sustainability across the University and its health system. UC’s academic health centers work toward health care-specific goals that are part of UC’s overall Policy on Sustainable Practices. Among the goals for each academic health center are:

  • Obtain 100 percent clean electricity by 2025. 
  • Design, construct, and commission acute care/hospital facilities and medical office buildings to outperform ASHRAE 90.1 - 2010 by at least 30 percent.
  • Maintain membership in Practice Greenhealth, a nonprofit dedicated to health care sustainability, and achieve Practice Greenhealth’s award “Greenhealth Partner for Change.”
  • Achieve a target of 25 pounds of total waste as defined by Practice Greenhealth per adjusted patient day by 2025 and strive for 20 pounds of total waste per adjusted patient day by 2030.
  • Strive for new contracts to specify that at least 20 percent of disposables should be purchased reprocessed as approved by the FDA when available and operationally feasible and implement a medical device reprocessing program with an FDA-approved third party reprocessor. 
  • Reduce growth-adjusted potable water consumption 20 percent by 2020 and 36 percent by 2025.
  • Procure 30 percent sustainable food as defined by Practice Greenhealth by 2030.

To accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels, the University has adopted new, stronger climate action goals that evolved from UC's prior carbon neutrality policy. The new goals put in place a framework and timetable for UC campuses and academic health centers to fully decarbonize no later than 2045, while hitting progressively significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, 2035 and 2040.

Additionally, as part of a nationwide health sector initiative led by the White House, UC Health has pledged to take further climate action focused on assessing supply chain emissions and developing climate resilience plans for UC’s health facilities and communities.

About University of California Health

UC Health comprises six academic health centers, 20 health professional schools, a Global Health Institute and systemwide services that improve the health of patients and the University’s students, faculty and employees. All of UC’s hospitals are ranked among the best in California and its medical schools and health professional schools are nationally ranked in their respective areas.