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Population Health Speaker Series Addresses the Intersection of Climate, Justice, and Health

Headshots of Eric Tate, Francesca Dominici, Adrienne L. Hollis, Mateo Nube, and Kristie Ebi.

April 25, 2022

As our world grapples with the adverse effects of the warming planet, the call for action has reached a tipping point. It has grown more evident that marginalized communities will bear the brunt of climate change, and its impacts can further exacerbate unequal social conditions. From extreme heat to rising sea levels, mitigation and adaptation efforts must consider that not all effects are felt equitably and develop solutions accordingly.

In response to the urgency of these challenges, this year’s annual Population Health Spotlight Speaker Series at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) was dedicated to exploring the themes of “Climate, Justice, and Health.” This series complemented Drexel University’s 2021 “Climate Year” declaration and goals to elevate and deliver public programming on this matter.

From October 2021 through April 2022, series participants heard from five different renowned experts in areas such as climate change, sustainability, environmental health, policy, activism, equity, and public health practice locally, nationally, and globally.

Speakers included:

  • Eric Tate, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Geographical & Sustainability Science College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa
  • Francesca Dominici, PhD, professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative
  • Adrienne L. Hollis, PhD, JD, environmental toxicologist and environmental attorney
  • Mateo Nube, co-founder of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project
  • Kristie Ebi, PhD, MPH, professor of environmental and occupational health and of global health at the University of Washington

Below are videos of the speaker presentations, complete with Q+As with attendees, who included members of the Drexel community, professionals from community-based organizations and government agencies, media professionals, and individuals interested in the topic more broadly.

Talk Title: Modeling Social Vulnerability to Floods

Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Speaker: Eric Tate, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Geographical & Sustainability Science College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa

“We do know that there are major inequities in exposures before disasters, recovery after disasters, and if we don’t do anything, they are just going to keep going.” - Tate

Talk Title: How Much Evidence Do You Need? Data Science to Inform Environmental Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Speaker: Francesca Dominici, PhD, Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Co-Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative

“The steps needed to mitigate climate change in the future are substantially the same as those needed to reduce the burden of death and disability due to air pollution in the present, which is really cutting back on burning fossil fuels and biomass.” - Dominici

Talk Title: The Syndemic - Race-Based Issues at the Intersection of Climate and Health

Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Speaker: Adrienne L. Hollis, PhD, JD, Environmental Toxicologist & Environmental Attorney

“Climate change is the biggest threat to human health. Climate events disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s communities, as well as the poor, and intensifies the adverse effects of environmental contamination that we’ve seen on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people who have to deal with this on a daily basis.

The resulting disadvantages are due to conditions like environmental contamination, air pollution, and poor water quality. It’s not a coincidence that this has happened. It stems from racism and racist practices. A foundation built on inequity and exclusion.” - Hollis

Talk Title: What Time Is It in the Clock of The World? A Framework for Just Transition

Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Speaker: Mateo Nube, Co-Founder of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

“We use the concept of frontline solutions at Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project. Folks who are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis need to be driving the solution design if we’re going to get out of this mess.“ - Nube

Talk Title: Climate Changes Health

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Speaker: Kristie Ebi, PhD, MPH, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health and of Global Health at the University of Washington

“There are going to be big, big changes in the next few years. When we talk about change, when we talk about transformation, it’s as if it’s in the future. It’s already happening now.“ - Ebi

Special thanks to all Population Health Spotlight Series speakers and participants. The next series will focus on another timely topic in the field of public health and begin in early fall 2022.