Becoming a planetary health advocate

Carolina Aguirre
In this open and diverse environment, you learn from classmates as well as the highly experienced lecturers and guest speakers, who were so inspiring and motivating.

Carolina Aguirre
Graduate Certificate in Planetary Health, Master of Applied Psychology

Psychologist Carolina Aguirre decided to study VU’s unique Graduate Certificate in Planetary Health to help inform her practice with individuals and the community. Carolina shares what she’s gained by studying in a diverse and inspiring classroom.

“I’m a psychologist specialising in community psychology, working with individuals, groups and communities to promote their wellbeing. I consider connecting to the natural environment as an important part of that and I’m always advocating for the health of the planet.

I was first attracted to VU’s Graduate Certificate in Planetary Health because it offered knowledge in climate change science and ways I could influence change through my work.

The course also appealed to me from a practical standpoint – being fully online, just one semester in duration, and with reduced fees.

The VU Block Model (where you study one unit at a time every four weeks) made it possible to maintain balance with work and studies, and get through the course quicker.

One of the best aspects of the course is interacting with open-minded people from diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. Everyone seemed to benefit from the robust discussions and group activities.

In this environment, you learn from classmates as well as the highly experienced lecturers and guest speakers, who were all so inspiring and motivating.

In addition to my psychology practice and teaching, I also volunteer as part of Zero Waste Victoria and sustainable committees for my local council.

I plan to use my planetary health knowledge to encourage community groups in their connections to nature, and in campaigns with the organisations I volunteer for.”

Leaders in planetary health

Planetary health addresses the relationship between the health of people, place and planet, and how each profoundly impacts the other. VU’s commitment to planetary health – through research, teaching and community engagement – was formally recognised through membership with the Planetary Health Alliance, and a ranking of #1 in Victoria for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020).