A group of University of Colorado scientists are taking a leadership role to investigate the effects of climate change on health, which has emerged as a dominant issue of this century and beyond. The new consortium, UC4Health (University of Colorado Consortium on Climate Change and Health) has brought together more than 20 faculty members at CU Anschutz, CU Denver and CU-Boulder to study the broad effects of climate change, including waterborne, foodborne and vector-borne diseases.
UC4Health leader Rosemary Rochford, PhD, professor of Immunology-Microbiology at the CU School of Medicine, and Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), emphasizes that the group is not looking into the causes of climate change, but rather the health effects from it.
David Goff, MD, PhD, dean of ColoradoSPH is among the CU Anschutz leadership team that supports the consortium, saying UC4Health demonstrates yet another way CU innovates and collaborates with partner universities for the greater good – in this case, a more comprehensive approach to planetary health. “This is a fantastic step to focus on the importance of climate in human health and ecosystem health, in terms of the plants and animals we share the environment with,” he says.
A few examples of UC4Health progress so far:
Education: Rochford; Elizabeth Carlton, PhD, MPH
, assistant professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, ColoradoSPH; and Jay Lemery, MD
, associate professor, Emergency Medicine, SOM; received approval for a “Climate and Health” course to be offered this fall in the ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz. Lemery and Christopher Davis, MD
, assistant professor of emergency medicine, SOM, will teach “Introduction to Polar Medicine” in Greenland – “Nobody’s done anything else like this,” Lemery says – over a week in August.
Research: Three main research themes are envisioned: metabolic diseases, disaster medicine, and infectious diseases. The consortium plans to host at least two international/national leaders in climate and health next academic year.
Membership in the consortium is open, and the group anticipates that as UC4Health gains recognition, it will bring more faculty into this important research arena. For more information, contact Rosemary Rochford at Rosemary.Rochford@ucdenver.edu.
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