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Assessing Population Vulnerability to Health Impacts of Climate Change

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

April 25, 2014

Assessing Population Vulnerability to Health Impacts of Climate Change

Global climate change is one of the most pressing environmental and public health concerns of the 21st century. Key to adapting to the effects of climate change is an understanding of the different risks experienced by various exposed or affected populations so that interventions can be targeted and implemented more efficiently. Certain populations are particularly at risk to the health effects of climate change, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, individuals from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and those living in urban or coastal areas. This webinar described ongoing research focused on assessing factors that may mediate increased risks among select vulnerable populations.

Presentations

Experts

Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D.

Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is interested in the adverse effects of air pollution, temperature extremes, and climate change on mortality and hospital admissions, focusing on cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological disorder endpoints. In particular, her area of expertise is analyzing the short-term effect of air pollution and weather parameters on mortality and morbidity by means of time series and case-crossover analysis. Other interests include environmental exposure assessment, socioeconomic influences on health, studying the mechanisms linking the inhalation of ambient particles to an acute exacerbation of cardiovascular or respiratory disease, epigenetics, and developing innovative statistical methodologies in environmental epidemiology.

 

Julia Gohlke, Ph.D.

Julia Gohlke, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Alabama – Birmingham. She received a B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan and an M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental health from the University of Washington. She has a background in computational and bioinformatic approaches in risk assessment and toxicology. She and her research team are evaluating whether there are differences in vulnerability to extreme heat events in urban versus rural settings in Alabama. They have examined non-accidental mortality and preterm birth during extreme heat events between 1990 and 2010 and also are working with community organizations to establish environmental health priorities and to measure personal heat exposure across urban and rural environments.

For More Information

Climate Change and Human Health - NIEHS Fact Sheet (907KB)
This factsheet provides an overview of how climate change affects human health, who is most at risk, the work that NIEHS is doing in this field, and links to additional resources.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 
The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge regarding climate change and its potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts.

National Climate Assessment (NCA) 
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences. See highlights of the assessment’s findings regarding human health 

Scientists Study Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health
The June 2014 issue of NIEHS's Environmental Factor has a nice summary of this webinar.

Highlighted Publications

  • Kent ST, McClure LA, Zaitchik BF, Smith TT, Gohlke JM. 2014. Heat waves and health outcomes in Alabama (USA): the importance of heat wave definition. Environ Health Perspect 122(2):151-158.[Abstract ]
  • Bernhard MC, Evans MB, Kent ST, Johnson E, Threadgill SL, Tyson S, Becker SM, Gohlke JM. 2013. Identifying environmental health priorities in underserved populations: a study of rural versus urban communities. Public Health 127(11):994-1004.[Abstract ]
  • Smith TT, Zaitchik BF, Gohlke JM. 2013. Heat waves in the United States: definitions, patterns and trends. Clim Change 118(3-4):811-825.[Abstract ]
  • Zanobetti A, O'Neill MS, Gronlund CJ, Schwartz JD. 2013. Susceptibility to mortality in weather extremes: effect modification by personal and small-area characteristics. Epidemiology 24(6):809-819.[Abstract ]
  • Zanobetti A, O'Neill MS, Gronlund CJ, Schwartz JD. 2012. Summer temperature variability and long-term survival among elderly people with chronic disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(17):6608-6613.[Abstract ]

We want your feedback!

Send comments, questions, and suggestions for future webinar topics to peph@niehs.nih.gov .

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