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Alex Quistberg and Team Awarded Grant to Link Urban Health Outcomes to Climate Change and Contribute to AI Risk Models

Colorful homes in Bogota, Colombia

March 8, 2023

Alex Quistberg, PhD, MPH, an Assistant Research Professor with the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative, has been awarded a grant to study the health effects of climate change in two Colombian cities, Bogotá and Barranquilla. This work will be funded by a grant from the Lacuna Fund, an organization that supports the creation of data sets from low- and middle-income countries to contribute to machine learning models that better represent traditionally underserved populations.  


Dr. Quistberg and his multidisciplinary team will collect neighborhood-level data, street-level images, and audio recordings from citizen scientists to provide a rich dataset that links environmental and social characteristics, climate data, and health outcomes. The team will also provide data from Bogotá and Barranquilla’s informal settlements – traditionally under-researched areas that face disproportionately high exposure to climate hazards compared to other urban neighborhoods. This data will allow policymakers and advocates to create evidence-based mitigation and adaptation strategies. It will also contribute to machine learning and artificial intelligence models that can be used to address climate hazards in similar urban areas throughout the Global South.


Dr. Quistberg will be joined by Olga Lucia Sarmiento of Universidad de los Andes (Bogota, Colombia) and Natalia Hoyos Botero of Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia).