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Climate Change and Health in Cities: Evidence to Action

Image of Philadelphia skyline from West Philadelphia view

May 5, 2021

Climate change is an urgent global health crisis and urban health brings specific challenges and opportunities to address climate issues. As urbanization rapidly increases, city life is becoming a reality for an ever-growing share of the global population, which makes addressing climate change in urban areas an important focus of public health work. Health issues faced by city residents are often heightened by climate change.

In addition, cities can be home to social and health inequities. Climate change risks to health will not be distributed evenly across populations. Urban populations that are already socially and economically disadvantaged will be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change which makes addressing this issue ever more important.

2021 has been designated Climate Year at Drexel University and several new initiatives are being created to combat climate change central to Drexel’s institutional practices, curriculum, research, and civic engagement. To support this united effort the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) has created an online, self-paced course, “Climate Change and Health in Cities: Evidence to Action,” to be released during the sixth annual Urban Health Summer Institute., June 21-28, 2021. The course is being taught by Ione Avila-Palencia, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral research fellow at the UHC, and is being offered in a flexible self-paced format.

When asked about the importance of climate change and health Ione said, “Climate change is an alteration of existing weather conditions that can create unprecedented situations. Those alterations can result in direct effects like heat stress, floods, drought, and increased frequency of intense storms, but also in changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement, and mental ill health. Due to its clear effects on key determinants of health, there is a strong need for action to avoid critical scenarios and to adapt to evolving climate risks in order to protect the population.”

This course will cover an introduction to climate change’s impact on urban health and provide an overview of different climate change effects in cities. Recognizing that the health of a population is linked to the protection of the environment surrounding them, this course will address potential solutions to the current crisis. Participants can earn Continuing Education Units or Certified in Public Health (CPH) credits. To learn more about this course, and register visit the Urban Health Summer Institute.