As an environmental epidemiologist and an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, my goal is to do applied environmental health research that improves the health of Alaskans. My work focuses on understanding the health impacts of climate change and working with communities to develop strategies for adaptation.
The Arctic is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet. Although Alaskans are observing the impacts of environmental change on their daily lives, there are very few datasets, publications, or ongoing studies that we can use to track these public health impacts and develop adaptation strategies.
My primary research goals are to 1) build epidemiological evidence for the health impacts of climate change, 2) develop tools and methods for community resilience planning and adaptation, and 3) evaluate the impact of adaptation activities. To that end, my projects, partners, and publications are diverse and span a wide variety of health outcomes. My strengths are epidemiological modeling, statistical analysis, GIS analysis, mixed methods, and integrating multiple sources of data (e.g. satellite, climatological, ecological, and human health) to understand the impacts of environmental change on human health. In addition, I prioritize applied research that answers questions that are relevant to policy or public health practice. I generally work in interdisciplinary teams, and most of my work involves partnerships with stakeholders outside the university including Municipal or state agencies, health organizations, or communities. I also involve students in many of my research projects, and several students have contributed to and received authorship on associated peer-reviewed publications.
Current projects include working with the Municipality of Anchorage to implement their Climate Action Plan, leading a study to investigate the risk of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in Alaska, and developing models to assess the physical and mental health effects of the smoke from recent wildfire seasons in Anchorage and Fairbanks.