Event Type

Assessing the Adverse Health Effects of Climate Change in Alaska with David Driscoll

Event Dates
Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 3:00 PM AKST


A great deal is known, and even more is posited, about the environmental effects of climate change in the northern latitudes. However, very little is known about the adverse effects of climate change on the health of residents of the circumpolar north. In this talk, I will describe some of the reasons why this is so, including some of the challenges to conducting epidemiological assessments of health outcomes associated with environmental exposures. I will describe the method by which my study team met those challenges through the application of a participatory, community-based surveillance system to collect repeated observations of environmental conditions and syndromic health outcomes in sentinel communities across three ecologically distinct regions of Alaska. I describe those adverse health outcomes we found to be significantly associated with unseasonable environmental conditions likely associated with climate change. Finally, I discuss some recommendations for adaptation strategies to mitigate these adverse health outcomes in circumpolar northern populations.

About the Speaker:

David Driscoll is the director of the Institute for Health Studies and an associate professor in the College of Health and Social Welfare. His research combines epidemiological and anthropological methods to link population-level health data and sociocultural context in order to assess and create effective public health programs. He has more than 10 years of experience working for a host of federal agencies and research foundations and associations. When not in the office, Driscoll enjoys running, biking, canoe camping, and fishing.