Sustainable healthcare

Our department is home to world leaders in the environmental sustainability of healthcare, focussing on research, teaching and engagement directed towards avoiding low value therapy, reducing the use of unnecessary medical equipment/medications, reusing equipment and recycling.

Meet some of our members

Professor Eugenie Kayak

Eugenie Kayak

Eugenie Kayak (FANZCA, MBBS, MSc, MPH) is the Enterprise Professor in Sustainable Healthcare in the Department of Critical Care, Melbourne Medical School.

Professor Kayak is a consultant anaesthetist at Austin and Alfred Health and in private practice.

Professor Kayak is a leader and advocate who has worked with Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), her own specialty, the AMA and wider medical profession for over a decade, to raise awareness of, and address, the health impacts of climate change and environmental degradation – including health care’s own impact.

Professor Kayak is a member of the Chief Medical Officer Advisory Group for development of the National Health and Climate Strategy, Convenor of National Sustainable Health Care for DEA and a past (DEA) Board member and Co-chair.

Work with the AMA has resulted in a collaboration calling for the Australian healthcare sector to be net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and engagement of Australia’s specialist medical colleges to advocate for action from government and the health sector. She has presented, taught and contributed to numerous sustainable health care publications, including DEA’s Net zero emissions: responsibilities, pathways and opportunities for Australia’s healthcare sector Report and Proposal for a National Sustainable Healthcare Unit, as well as ANZCA’s Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine.

In appointing Professor Kayak, the University recognises her outstanding national and international leadership in sustainable healthcare. In this part-time role, Professor Kayak will develop strategies to translate sustainable healthcare initiatives into clinical practice, research, teaching and engagement across the Melbourne Medical School, the Faculty more broadly and our partners, working closely with Professor Kathryn Bowen from the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and Melbourne Climate Futures.


Associate Professor Forbes McGain

Forbes McGain

Forbes is an anaesthetist and intensive care physician at Western Health, Melbourne, Australia, and an Associate Professor (Medicine) at the University of Sydney, and the University of Melbourne. In December 2022 he was appointed the inaugural Associate Dean Healthcare Sustainability in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Melbourne.

He enjoys being involved in research, teaching and education at the hospital, university and beyond. Forbes remains passionate about making seemingly small environmental sustainability changes to how we practice medicine that become magnified through every nations’ hospitals. His love of nature affects everything he does at work, home, and well, anywhere…

Dr Jess Davies

Dr Jess Davies

Dr Jess Davies is an anaesthetist at Austin Health, Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Critical Care and co-founder of the TRA2SH Research Network, empowering others to make real-world changes to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare.

Jess is starting a PhD to explore how we can implement environmental sustainability into operating theatres, which are one of the highest carbon areas in hospitals. There is already plenty of research about the environmental and financial benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling in operating theatres so she wants to explore how we can actually overcome the barriers to deliver high quality healthcare that doesn’t cost the earth.


Dr Sonia Chanchlani

Sonia Chanchlani

Sonia Chanchlani is the Senior Fellow, Sustainability, Climate and Health in the Department of Critical Care, Melbourne Medical School.

Sonia’s unique perspective on healthcare includes training in Canada and Ireland, prior to diverse clinical, forensic, and medical administration experiences in hospital and community medicine across Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. She has held leadership roles in medical education, trainee advocacy, digital health, and published research on clinician wellbeing.

Qualifications include a Masters of Health Management and Public Health, Certified Health Informatician of Australasia (CHIA), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), and Associate Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (AFRACMA) and is pursuing a Masters of Clinical Forensic Medicine.

Currently Sonia is a board director for Doctors for the Environment Australia, chairs their Medical Education Committee and sits on their Sustainable Healthcare Special Interest Group. She is passionate about driving systems change across the health sector to achieve social and environmental justice while empowering clinicians and communities.

Current research

Some current projects being undertaken by our research group include:

  • Jess Davies: translating healthcare environmental sustainability research.
  • Hayden Burch, Eugenie Kayak, Forbes McGain et al. How much N2O is used in Australia's public hospitals?
  • Forbes McGain, Scott McAlister et al. The carbon footprint of a total knee replacement (surgery/anaesthesia/engineering).
  • Forbes McGain et al. Using an electronic medical record to reduce ICU clotting profiles.

Disaster and terror medicine courses

Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate and Specialist Certificate study options available.

Equip yourself with evidence-based best practice to confidently respond to disaster and
terror events in a changing world. The knowledge and experience of disaster and terror medicine specialists is crucial when managing crisis events in community and healthcare environments, such as hospitals, trauma units, and other health services. We’ll equip you with the skills to respond quickly and decisively.

Developed by the University of Melbourne’s Department of Critical Care in consultation with industry, the courses draw on the extensive knowledge and real-world experience of Australian and international experts, including leading emergency physician, Professor George Braitberg AM, who heads up the department’s emergency medicine program.

Online delivery provides you with the flexibility to fit study around work and personal commitments. Your experience will be enriched with a face-to-face program, which provides you the opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice through a series of workshops.

Disaster and Terror Medicine is a system-orientated specialty that intersects clinical medicine and emergency responding agencies and is relevant to clinicians (including doctors, nurses, clinical leaders); emergency services (including paramedics, emergency responders); hospital administrators; government and policy makers; social workers; and the military.

Sustainability and Planetary Health Action Network (SPHAN)

Our SPHAN committee meet regularly to:

  • Promote research, learning and teaching, and engagement in sustainable healthcare across the areas of anaesthesia, perioperative and pain medicine, intensive care medicine and emergency medicine.
  • Engage with the University, affiliated hospitals, the critical care community and the broader community to promote its activities.

SPHAN Committee members:

Professor Eugenie Kayak, Enterprise Professor in Sustainable Healthcare
Associate Professor Forbes McGain 
Dr Simon Judkins
Dr Jess Davies
Dr Hayden Burch
Dr Scott McAlister
Dr Richard Seglenieks
Dr Sophia Grobler
Dr Ben Dunne
Dr Rebecca McIntyre
Dr Cara Moore
Dr Nancy Sadka
Professor David Story
Ms Anna Parker
Dr Stacy Turner

Selected publications

Leadership in healthcare environmental sustainability:

  • Braitberg G, Climate change can be seen through a disaster medicine lens. Med J Aust. 2022.
  • Barratt AL, Bell KJ, Charlesworth K, McGain F. High value health care is low carbon health care. Med J Aust. 2022;216(2). Accessed February 7, 2022.
  • Wong A, Gynther A, Li C, Rounds M, Lee JH, Krieser D, Posma E, McGain F. Quantitative nitrous oxide usage by different specialties and current patterns of use in a single hospital, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 129, Issue 3, 2022, Pages e59-e60, ISSN 0007-0912,
  • Kayak E, Burch H. Australian health sector leadership and roadmap for healthcare decarbonisation to net zero emissions. The Journal of Climate Change and Health. 2021;4:100081. doi:10.1016/j.joclim.2021.100081
  • Burch H, Anstey MH, McGain F. Renewable energy use in Australian public hospitals. Medical Journal of Australia. 2021;215(4):160. doi:10.5694/mja2.51197
  • Burch, H., Beaton, L. J., Simpson, G., Watson, B., Maxwell, J., & Winkel, K. D. (2022). A planetary health–organ system map to integrate climate change and health content into medical curricula. Medical Journal of Australia, 217(9), 469-473.
  • Burch H, McGain F. Victorian public healthcare Chief Executive Officers’ views on renewable energy supply. Australian Health Review. 2021;45:7-11. doi:
  • Wilson S, Rixon A, Hartanto S, White P, Judkins S. Review article: Systematic literature review of leadership in emergency departments. Emergency Medicine Australasia. 2020;32(6):935-952. doi:10.1111/1742-6723.13658
  • McGain F, Kayak E, Burch H. A sustainable future in health: ensuring as health professionals our own house is in order and leading by example. Medical Journal of Australia. 2020;213(8):381-381.e1. doi:10.5694/mja2.50787
  • McGain F, Ma SC, Burrell RH, et al. Why be sustainable? The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Professional Document PS64: Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Practice and its accompanying background paper. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2019;47(5):413-422. doi:10.1177/0310057X19884075
  • McGain F, Story D, Kayak E, Kashima Y, McAlister S. Workplace Sustainability: The “Cradle to Grave” View of What We Do. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2012;114(5):1134-1139. doi:10.1213/ANE.0b013e31824ddfef
  • Davies, J. F., Seglenieks, R., Cameron, R., Kuruvilla, N. A., Grove, E. M., Shrivathsa, A., & Grobler, S. (2023). Operation clean up: A model for eco-leadership and sustainability implementation. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 51(2), 88-95.
  • Davies, J. F., Trajceska, L., & Weinberg, L. (2023). The financial and environmental impact of purchased anaesthetic agents in an Australian tertiary hospital. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 51(2), 141-148. 

Carbon Footprint of Healthcare and Life-cycle Assessment Studies:

In the media

#OutOfTheBox: Join DoCC member and emergency medicine specialist Dr Simon Judkins for his #OutOfTheBox column, published by Croakey, where he shares conversations on climate and health.

Climate change and sustainability: leadership, action from doctors. Professor Eugenie Kayak, Dr John Van Der Kallen and Professor Stephen Robson. InSight Plus, 15 Aug 2022.

Health care is responsible for 7% of our carbon emissions, and there are safe and easy ways this can be reduced. Scott McAlister, The University of Melbourne and Alexandra Barratt, University of Sydney in The Conversation,  3 Aug 2022.

Have you stopped wearing reusable fabric masks? Here’s how to cut down waste without compromising your health. Aleasha McCallion, Monash University; Forbes McGain, The University of Melbourne, and Kim Borg, Monash University in The Conversation, 28 Jan 2022.

COP26: opportunities missed for Australian health care. Professor Eugenie Kayak. InSight Plus, 13 Dec 2021.

Hospital environmental sustainability: end of the beginning. Professor Eugenie Kayak and Associate Professor Forbes McGain. InSight Plus, 31 May 2021.

Roadmap to sustainable health care. Professor Eugenie Kayak. InSight Plus, 3 May 2021.

Health care must be part of climate change solution. Professor Eugenie Kayak and Dr Hayden Burch. InSight Plus, 14 Dec 2020.