Life Cycle Assessment Boot Camp: LCA for the Health Sector

Life Cycle Assessment Boot Camp: LCA for the Health Sector

February 13-14, 2023 and March 27-28, 2023 | Virtual | 10 AM – ~5 PM ET

The healthcare sector is a large producer of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution and we urgently need evidence-driven solutions to address the resulting health impacts of health system functioning. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool used to quantify the environmental emissions of a product or process. It is used to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from medical devices and procedures to aid in strategically decarbonizing health care.  LCA literacy and competency is crucial in developing the evidence base to guide solutions in reducing the healthcare industry’s carbon footprint and is essential for anyone considering a career in sustainability, as LCA can be a valuable tool in managing the performance of a health organization.

This course will provide an introduction into the use of life cycle assessment in the healthcare sector and will provide mentorship for participants to perform their own desired LCA study through the duration of the course. It will train those interested in healthcare sustainability in how to apply principles of industrial ecology to improve the environmental performance of healthcare systems and practices. Through a hands-on and team-based approach, attendees will learn to do a material flow assessment and collect and analyze data on the waste generated through the production and use of a specific healthcare material. Ultimately, participants will be able to interpret LCA results and draft LCA reports. The principles of the course will be taught primarily via virtual modules and lectures requiring independent work with two interspersed intensive virtual workshops. The course is designed and led by an assistant professor whose research is primarily focused on sustainable health systems engineering and life cycle assessment as well as by an emergency medicine physician-investigator who is the director of the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education.

In this course, you will learn:

  • February 13-14 live-virtual training
    • Fundamentals of LCA according to ISO 14040 standards
    • How to define LCA’s
    • Use of SimaPro software and databases required to complete an LCA
    • Process mapping and material flow assessment
    • Data collection and practice with creating assumptions
    • Study design advantages and pitfalls
  • Five-week break
    • During this time, you will work with your team (or individually, if you do not have team members) to access and assimilate the needed data identified during the February training to complete your LCA. Each team will have one more check-in meeting with program faculty and staff to assist with troubleshooting and other logistics.
  • March 27-28 live-virtual training
    • Data synthesis and analysis
    • Sensitivity and certainty analyses
    • Drafting LCA reports and other dissemination strategies
    • Identify best practices for interpreting and sharing LCA results