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Pre-symposium event convenes regional experts to discuss mortality in Latin American cities


September 5, 2019

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 

On September 4, 2019, a half-day event organized by the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative brought together SALURBAL (Salud Urbana en América Latina) project researchers and regional experts to discuss challenges to collecting and working with mortality data in Latin America, and what we can learn about how urban environments might be influencing mortality and life expectancy across the region. This event took place in Philadelphia at Drexel University.

Ana Diez Roux, Dean of Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health, opened the discussion and described the work of the SALURBAL project toward understanding how urban environments and urban policies impact the health of city residents throughout Latin America.

Four invited speakers discussed their research and work in demography, specifically examining patterns of mortality across Latin America:

  • Hiram Beltram-Sanchez of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health, University of California – Los Angeles, gave the keynote address, focusing on levels and trends of mortality across Latin America.
  • Lina Sofia Palacio Mejía of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and the National Institute for Public Health (INSP) spoke about urban mortality in Mexico.
  • Piedad Urdinola of the Department of Statistics at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá described mortality data quality and causes of death in Colombian cities.
  • Bernardo Lanza Queiroz of the Department of Demography and the Center for Development and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Minas Gerais presented spatial and temporal trends observed for estimates of adult mortality in small-areas in Brazil.

During the second half of the event, three SALURBAL researchers from the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative described preliminary results from the project:

  • Usama Bilal presented data on levels and determinants of urban mortality in Latin American cities, noting stark disparities both between and within cities.
  • Ana Ortigoza spoke about the influence of the social urban environment on infant mortality in cities of Latin America.
  • Alex Quistberg highlighted results regarding the association of built and social environment factors with road mortality.

Over fifty audience members representing a diverse array of institutions participated in a lively discussion following each presentation.

This event also marked the launch of the latest SALURBAL data brief, which details the experience of the SALURBAL project in harmonizing and describing mortality data across 366 cities in 10 countries in Latin America. Download the data brief here.

This half-day event took place in the context of the bi-annual symposium event organized by the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health: “Reimagining Health in Cities: Challenges and New Directions.”