Saturday, November 16, 2013

InFocus: Health Care (and Climate Change)

As has often been noted, the four themes for InFocus at Moravian are interconnected:  Poverty, Sustainability, Health Care, and War & Peace.  Climate change is related to all four areas.  On Thursday, one of the themes of the COP had to do with the health impacts of climate change, and on Friday afternoon, the US Center hosted a panel on the topic. 

The panel “Health Adaptation in the United States and Around the World” was led by Dr. John Balbus, the Senior Advisor for Public Health at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).  A 2010 report thoroughly lists the many different impacts on health from climate change, ranging from the direct impacts of weather events (heat waves, storms, etc.) to biological agents (microbes, vector-borne diseases, etc.).  An overview of health concerns around the world can be found here.

Of interest to researchers, the Obama administration has also made the online resource MATCH (Metadata Access Tool for Climate and Health) publicly available.  One of the goals of MATCH is to provide “relevant Federal metadata on climate and health that will increase efficiency in solving research problems.”  Remembering that Dr. John Snow (1813-1858) discovered that cholera was transmitted through water by using a dot map showing clusters of cholera cases and overlapping that with maps of the water supply system, it seems like there should be possibilities for student research as we focus on Health this year!

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