Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Web Site Explores How Climate Changes Affects Human Health

Date:
November 10, 1998
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
If the Earth's climate is changing, how will it affect human health? Will warmer temperatures result in more mosquitos, spreading deadly malaria? Will new weather patterns trigger deadlier hurricanes? What can public policy makers do to reduce the human suffering? A Johns Hopkins graduate student has launched a Web site to distribute the latest research on issues of climate change and human health.

Johns Hopkins Grad Student Helps Scientists Share Critical Findings

If the Earth's climate is changing, as many researchers believe, how will it affect human health?Will warmer temperatures result in more mosquitos, spreading deadly diseases such as malaria?Will new weather patterns trigger more or harsher hurricanes, leading to more injuries and loss oflife? If events like these are imminent or already occurring, what can public policy makers do toreduce the human suffering?

An ambitious multi-disciplinary study is under way to address questions like these, and its findingsare being posted on a World Wide Web site set up by a Johns Hopkins University engineeringgraduate student. The site, called "Climate Change and Human Health," stems from a three-year,$3 million grant awarded to Hopkins last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. TheEPA asked researchers to look at how climate change could affect public health and how policymakers should respond..

"One of the key purposes of the grant was to make this research public," says Rebecca Freeman, a26-year-old doctoral student in Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. "Oneof the ways to do that, obviously, is to disseminate our research via the Internet. We're trying toencourage communication among scientists and to collect feedback from informed readers."

The site, located at http://www.jhu.edu/~climate, has received awards for its attractive graphicdesign and easy navigation. Freeman, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, designed the Web site andcontinues to add information as fresh data is developed at Hopkins and 11 other participatinguniversities and government agencies. These partners include the University of Maryland, PennState, Georgia Tech, the National Climate Data Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Web site was proposed by the project's principal investigators, Jonathan Patz, director of theProgram on Health Effects of Global Environmental Change at Hopkins' School of Public Health,and Hugh Ellis, chairman of Hopkins' Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.Ellis, who is Freeman's doctoral advisor, asked her to create and supervise the site because of herexperience in Web page design. "She did it all," Ellis says. "It's a very good site because of hercreativity, motivation and effort."

Freeman had learned cyber-skills while helping to set up an electronic course for Hopkins' Centerfor Alternatives to Animal Testing. The course was for scientists and others looking for producttesting methods that do not require the use of animals. The "Climate Change and Human Health" site is unrelated to Freeman's doctoral research. Nevertheless, she was able to draw onher diverse academic background, including some demanding science courses she took as aHopkins undergraduate. "I was a typical undergraduate," she recalls. "I didn't know what Iwanted to do. But sometimes the mistakes you make as an 18-year-old turn out to be an assetwhen you're older."

After earning a bachelor's degree in political science, Freeman obtained a master's degree atHopkins' Institute for Policy Studies. "I wrote my master's thesis on the use of animals in eyeirritant testing," she says. "I'm very interested in science policy and the way research isconducted.. Because I have a background in policy studies and in the sciences, I was in the rightplace at the right time for putting together this Web site."

The site allows visitors to learn more about hydrologic models, remote sensing, climate analysisand other research tools. It also provides links to the experts involved in the EPA study and torelated publications and web sites. Freeman hopes to add interactive features that will allowvisitors to access raw data, such as long-term temperature or rainfall figures, then use thatinformation for their own research projects.

She cautions that most of the material on this site is technical in nature. "This site is not set up asa primer on climate change and public health issues," Freeman explains. "If sixth-grade studentsare writing reports on climate change, this is probably not the site for them."

Freeman sometimes hears from earnest Web surfers who misunderstand the purpose of the site. "Iget e-mails from people who say, 'I've got a cough, and I think it's related to climate change. Canyou tell me who to talk to?' " she says. "But these are not really the people we're trying to reach.We are aiming it at the decisions-makers, who could be analysts or government officials, and tothe greater community of scientists."

Eventually, Freeman hopes to become a researcher and policy-maker herself, tackling toughenvironmental issues. "My background is in trying to reconcile changes in bio-diversity withdevelopment," she says. "These issues require a lot of research and a lot of thought about whatthe trade-offs and options are. I don't believe that we have to choose between saving the elephantor feeding starving children. We have to find policies that are environmentally sound but are notdetrimental and do not inhibit development. I don't think those things are mutually exclusive."

(Note to editors: Color slide Rebecca Freeman available; contact Phil Sneiderman.)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University. "Web Site Explores How Climate Changes Affects Human Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981110133329.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University. (1998, November 10). Web Site Explores How Climate Changes Affects Human Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981110133329.htm
Johns Hopkins University. "Web Site Explores How Climate Changes Affects Human Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981110133329.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins