Diane’s area of R&D interests are in soil health and soil nutrient cycling, focusing on carbon turnover, nutrient processes and greenhouse gas fluxes in forest, pasture, wetland and agricultural ecosystems. She has a strong focus on information provision for land management and decision support across a diverse audience including policymakers, scientists, government and land managers. These activities require a coordinated team effort, demonstrated national and international collaborative networks and an ability to think through practical application of R&D with land managers.
Developing a future vision for ‘healthiness’ in a changing climate relies upon networking a range of disciplines including the physical, biological, chemical and non-living environment. For the past 10 years, she has been working in a diverse cross-disciplinary team environment, researching how to quantify and describe healthy landscapes. She is keen to be involved in the problem-solving process: to identify the influences governing the decision-making process, to define ‘health’ in the Australian and global context, and to develop solutions for managing health across a range of integrated disciplines.
Hilary’s research field is population health in the context of climate variability and change, with impacts and adaptation strategies to improve health in vulnerable populations at its core. Her projects are based in Australia (largely in disadvantaged urban and Indigenous communities), in Pacific Island countries, and in informal urban settlements (slums) in Ethiopia. She has made substantial independent and original contributions to both scholarship and public policy, including leading Australia’s health impact assessment for the Garnaut Climate Change Review (2008), the Health Synthesis Review for the Sydney Adaptation Strategy (2012) and the Climate Adaptation Strategy for Health for Samoa (2013).
Her experience in impacts and adaptation research ranges from the health outcomes she has studied (e.g. vector-borne, respiratory and gastroenteric diseases), the location and environment (Australian cities, rural Indigenous communities, African slums and Pacific Islands), and the populations of interest (the very young, the old, and in between). She delights in collaborating across disciplines to solve complex problems. With a background in bioanthropology and work in such diverse and disadvantaged settings, her public health / epidemiological perspective is accompanied by a well-developed understanding of the broader contexts, pressures and demands that render populations especially vulnerable, as well as the practice of developing, implementing and evaluating programs aimed at avoiding harm and building resilience.
Melanie completed her Honours year (University Medallist) with Professor David Harley in 2010 investigating the impact of climate on dengue transmission in far north Queensland. She was the youngest invited speaker at a festschrift for Professor Tony McMichael’s work in environment and health over four decades, and has contributed a chapter to a forthcoming book that reflects on how the impacts of climate change on infectious diseases will be observed and measured. She begins a PhD in 2014 which will use a transdisciplinary ecohealth framework to explore the interactions between ecological change, population movements and malaria transmission.
Several studies have attempted to attribute changes in patterns of infectious diseases to recent climate change. However, methods for the detection and attribution of climate change impacts on human infectious diseases have not been clearly defined.
Four of Charmian’s research papers were cited in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report of 2014. These papers examine climate change impacts on seasonal deaths, impacts of heat and other factors on worker health, and aeroallergens, airborne dust and health). She has written a briefing paper and participated in a strategic planning meeting for the 2010 COAG National Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan. She was selected for the 2012 Future Thought Leaders Program 2012, which trained researchers and policymakers together in the concepts and methods of best-practice evidence-based policy-making and policy-based research translation.
She has expertise on the health impacts of extreme heat and changing air quality. I have a strong holistic understanding of complex processes that directly and indirectly link climate change to human health outcomes. Her multidisciplinary academic background comes from a PhD in epidemiology, postgraduate studies in geography and environmental health, and significant interdisciplinary research experience. She can understand, translate and synthesise knowledge and research techniques from a range of relevant disciplines and apply it to the myriad health challenges posed by climate change. She has a keen interest and growing understanding in the research–policy interface. She is an active participant in the University of Sydney’s Menzies Centre for Health Policy.
Grant is interested in the relationship between climate change and health. He is a former board director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a strategic adviser to the Climate Institute, a co-founder of Doctors for the Environment Australia and chair of the Environmental Working Group of the World organisation of Family Doctors. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and undertaken over $5 million of research projects in fields of interest including mental health and primary care.
He has raised the following issues for discussion by the forum:
Jennifer’s research focuses on climate change, rural and remote practice, and social activism. She is particularly interested in the impacts of the environmental fallout of climate change on disadvantaged populations such as older people, women and those living in poverty. She wrote ‘Ecosocial work with marginalized populations: time for action on climate change’ in M Gray, J Coates and T Hetherington, eds (2013), Environmental social work. She is working on embedding environmental social work issues into core courses on the socio-political context of social work practice, research methods, and social work theory.
Her expertise in the effects of climate change on people’s health and wellbeing links directly with the forum theme of examining climate change challenges to health. With her background in the social sciences, she is able to make the links between the science of climate change and human health easily understandable to the general public and policy-makers. She has extensive knowledge of the psychosocial consequences of climate changes as well as the unintended and unexpected impacts. She enjoys working with others in a multidisciplinary context to make recommendations on how to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on health.
Kathryn’s area of expertise is climate change and health. She has been at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health since 2008. Kathryn has worked in global health research and policy since 1999, across public, private and university sectors. She is a Research Fellow within the Earth System Governance project, and Fellow of the Adaptation College and the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Kathryn is co-founder of Just Change, a climate change and equity organisation, and sits on an environment advisory committee for the City of Melbourne. Her main work is a range of consultancies for the World Health Organization (WHO country/regional offices) on climate change and health.
She has six years’ experience working in climate change and health research and policy activities. She has a broad perspective on the role of health within the climate change (both adaptation and mitigation) setting through her work as a lead researcher in an AusAID-funded project which engaged a range of sectors (such as water, agriculture, and disaster management), given the key links these sectors have with the health sector. She works with WHO in training and policy development, contributing current global developments to the discussion. On a more local level, she works with a project with the City of Melbourne on the importance of health in the way climate change is framed so as to strengthen its position of priority amongst other policies.
Devin’s social science background is diverse and transdisciplinary, with publications in public health focusing on climate change, conflict prevention, history, and cognitive psychology. He has Honours degrees in anthropology and psychology, and an MA (Hons) in anthropology. His PhD by publication at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health focuses on climate change, conflict and health. He has conducted social research for the Australian Heritage Council. He is a senior project manager leading a research team of 10 at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and lead author of four reports of the institute.
With Professor Colin Butler, Devin has recently submitted for publication a systematic literature review on climate change, conflict and health. This review identified 29 published works on the topic (two of which Devin wrote). He has five book chapters in press, a recently published conference paper on the subject, and has presented on the topic at international conferences. He has benefited from collaboration with leading scholars in this field: Professor Tony McMichael, Professor Colin Butler, and Rear Admiral (retired) Neil Morisetti (UK). He has published a book chapter on how health care can diminish conflict risk. He is interested in other socio-economically mediated health effects of climate change, including undernutrition, social stress, inequality and migration.
There is a difference between providing climate change information and providing information that is useful to decision makers. Jaclyn has worked with stakeholders to deliver information that is relevant and useful for the decisions they need to make on water security, temperature extremes, appropriate climate indices for agriculture, and oceanic changes that alter fish habitats. Part of this information is communicating the uncertainty in the projections while still taking into account the possibilities of high-risk events.
Her expertise as a climate change scientist helps her understanding of the expected climate change that we need to plan for, and allows her to see ways in which the provided climate change information can be used to help understand the relevant variables to human health – not just in the details of temperature, rainfall, drought and cyclones, but in the subtleties around humidity, favourable growing weather for agriculture or the spread of disease.
From 2007 to 2011 Stuart was the climate systems modeller for the Climate Futures for Tasmania project. This project focused on the delivery of relevant climate research and information for Tasmania. The key research innovation was the combining of meteorology/climate models with water runoff, river and electricity market models, flood, storm surge and wind hazards models, and agricultural models (for example pasture growth) to understand how climate change will affect businesses in Tasmania at the decision making level. Since 2011 he has been working on the development of an end-to-end ecosystem model for the Southern Ocean to explore the response of the marine ecosystem to climate change.
His expertise in the use of high resolution climate models and in delivering relevant information from these models to a range of stakeholders, including those with expertise in hydrology, agriculture, health and emergency management speaks both to his expertise in climate modelling and his ability to communicate the implications and challenges of climate change to a broad scientific audience. Through his experience with Climate Futures for Tasmania he developed a passion for incorporating climate model projections into a range of research areas where the changing climate is likely to have a significant impact. In 2012, he was part of the Climate Futures for Tasmania team that won the national Resilient Australia awards (Education and Research section) administered by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, for providing advice to the Tasmanian emergency management community on the challenges that the impacts of climate change may bring to emergency managers in Tasmania.
Tim’s interests include understanding climate model projections of heatwaves across Australia. He has researched how tropical Indian Ocean effects on the climate and weather of southern Australia might lead to major bushfires. Indian Ocean positive dipole events are likely to increase, and enhance the risk of major bushfires across southern Australia in summer.
His work suggests that heatwaves across Australia will become more frequent, longer and much hotter by the latter part of this century, and this should be of great concern for Australian communities. He is therefore keen to engage with researchers and decision-makers from other fields, such as health, social sciences and biodiversity, to better understand the impacts of these changes, and how his research can possibly be better targeted towards the needs of end users. He can provide Think Tank participants with a long-term picture of projected future changes in extreme events, including heatwaves and climate extremes, which influence drought and bushfires. Engaging with other EMCRs will initiate ideas about how our extremes research can be used to benefit those affected by climate change.
As a human geographer, Amanda’s research has focused on examining socio-economic change and adaptation in livelihoods and communities in response to external pressures, especially in rural and coastal communities. It has focused on identifying the social, economic and institutional factors that underpin resilience and adaptive capacity in rural and coastal primary resource dependent communities. These communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. She has undertaken cross-cultural studies on population migration, factors influencing population mobility and the migration decision-making process, utilising a ‘livelihoods framework’ to understand population mobility/ migration.
As the climate changes, outmigration is an adaptation strategy for many communities, particularly low-lying coastal and marginal rural communities. Tens of millions of people are likely to be forced to move away from their home community/ country as a result of climate related changes to the natural environment. For individuals, making the decision to migrate away from a home community can be stressful and upsetting. Migrants lose social networks, a sense of belonging to place and their livelihood. They may face isolation and unemployment in their destination community. Outmigration can result in negative social, economic and wellbeing implications for the remaining population, and migration can place increased pressure on the social and economic infrastructure and impact the wellbeing of receiving communities. Amanda will contribute to discussions about the implications of climate change for individual and community health where outmigration is likely to be an adaptation strategy.
Greg spent 10 years in dengue and malaria endemic regions (Peru, Tanzania and north Queensland) working on disease vectors and consulting for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local control programs. He has a major interest in one of the most dramatic adaptations to environment (insecticide resistance) and has managed or consulted on projects that assess how transmission risks are mediated by human behaviour (logging, land use, vector control tools). He is involved in Australian modelling initiatives that predict the impacts of climate and environment on dengue transmission. His lab is increasingly interested in the ecology of invasive mosquitoes and related cost-benefit analyses.
He became head of the Mosquito Control Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer in July 2013. The lab manages unique quarantine and insectary facilities and maintains a range of mosquitoes including important invasive species. He is president of the Mosquito and Arbovirus Research Committee, Queensland, which sets the research agenda for mosquito-borne disease among the councils and state interests. We examine the influence of landscape, ecosystems and human behaviour on vector competence, adaptation, density and disease transmission. Climate change is just one of many interacting forces that drive the spatial and temporal dynamics of mosquito-borne diseases (others include changes in land use, species invasions and urbanisation) and that may encourage the establishment or expansion of new or existing pathogens. Mosquitoes and the diseases that they can transmit are excellent models for investigating the health and societal impacts of climate change and its interactions with landscape and human behaviour.
Ning is a postdoctoral research fellow investigating the relationship between social capital, climate change and health, working at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University and with Professor Helen Berry at the University of Canberra. His research has the following two themes:
1. the relationship between social capital (including community participation behaviour, trust and social support), community resilience in times of hardship, and mental health, and
2. the effect of extreme weather events, such as those expected to be exacerbated by climate change (e.g. drought, extreme temperatures, humidity and bushfires) on mental and general health.
He has a doctoral degree in physics from the Beijing Normal University in 2008. Four further years of doctoral study in economics and subsequent postdoctoral training at the ANU College of Business and Economics have enhanced his critical thinking ability and familiarised him with many sophisticated techniques in the quantitative analysis of big data. Since graduation, with the help of panel data and panel analysis techniques, he has demonstrated a causal association between extreme weather events such as heat and humidity and worse mental health, and a causal relationship between greater social capital and better mental health. In both cases, these are world-first findings. His research can thus provide insights into the potential health impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, and the protective role that community functioning can play in this dynamic, helping to fill a vital gap in scientific knowledge. Constructive evidence-based advice and analysis of implications can contribute to policy initiatives that will really work to tackle the big health problems that will increasingly be caused by climate change. He can contribute to the Think Tank with his economic expertise and analysis skill, for example, in calculating ‘health and social costs of carbon’ and modelling the implications of growth for emissions and, ultimately, for different aspects of health.
Efrat’s main research area focuses on sustainability education. In 2008, he and a colleague established the Israeli Forum for Sustainability Education, an inter-university organisation bringing together Israeli academics researching sustainability education who meet quarterly each year. He has published seven peer-reviewed articles on sustainability education. His recent research focuses on examining climate change education, and recently supervised a Masters thesis examining implementation within the Israeli school systems. He plans to extend the research to examining Australian school policy on this topic.
He will contribute to the forum by highlighting the role of education in preparing societies for climate change and increasing resilience. His recent research highlighted the urgent need to educate for climate change, and showed that climate change education has to take place in both formal and informal settings. He has studied the sources of influence on adult attitudes to environmental issues, finding that the main influencing factor was ‘My past and present close relationships and myself as a citizen’. He hopes to contribute to the Think Tank discussions by unfolding the meaning and implications of this prime factor, with regards to preparing societies, both in terms of prevention and mitigation.
Aharon is interested in the relationship between business and environmental sustainability. His biology degree and Masters in Environmental Science, Technology and Policy give him a multidisciplinary approach. His PhD research focused on the influence of societal stakeholders on the owner/managers of small and medium size biotechnology companies. He won a government research grant to investigate environmental sustainability in Melbourne’s small and medium size manufacturing companies. His research used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine 350 companies. It provides an in-depth analysis of both environmental behaviour of these companies and the deeper perceptual and decision-making processes of selected companies. Data collection ended in 2012 and under review for publication.
He brings to the forum knowledge of the implications of climate change for small businesses which play such an important role in the Australian economy. His research demonstrates that such businesses are highly sensitive to resource variability (especially energy sourcing) and are often inextricably a component of complex supply chains and networks. The effect of climate change has great potential to disrupt their functioning. Particularly concerning is the potential for increasing economic stress, mental health effects on owner/managers and job losses in community. He can discuss these issues in the context of the impact on livelihood and disadvantage in Australian local communities.
Helen’s research investigates risks to the safety of the Australian blood supply, and has direct implications for public health and policy. She has focused on the provision of an evidence-base to enable the evaluation of current emerging infectious risks in the context of the safety of the Australian blood supply. To achieve this she used epidemiological investigations coupled with modelling approaches to provide an evidence-base for assessing risk. Her research strives to improve the way we model the risk posed by emerging infectious diseases with an overall aim of informing sound, science-based policies for protecting Australia’s blood supply.
Infectious diseases pose a serious risk to our nation’s blood supply, which are projected to escalate with changes to the global climate. Blood transfusions are an essential component of modern medicine, and one in three Australians are expected to require a blood transfusion in their lifetime. Thus blood safety is critically important to the health of ordinary Australians, and her research seeks to understand and manage risks associated with emerging diseases. She will be therefore able to bring a novel angle to the Think Tank, which might otherwise be overlooked.
Dale is researching local government response to climate change. Her thesis will use systems theory as a conceptual framework to explore limits to both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. She has researched the activities of all 152 NSW local governments, to get a broader view of local government by studying rural as well as the more commonly researched city organisations. She works in a voluntary capacity with a local government council to help them implement their greenhouse plan. In this capacity, she also chairs a subgroup hoping to introduce carbon farming practices to the shire.
Her first degree was in agriculture. After five years in the rice industry researching post-harvest management of rice and rice products to the consumer, she spent four years working for local government researching water supply and waste water issues. She (and her partner) have managed their own farm for 10 years. She has spent eight years providing training to both local council workers (parks and gardens) and farmers, and knows firsthand how the food and water supply industries work. She is very aware of rural issues and the plight of farmers, experience which will be useful to the group in discussions.
Brad has an ongoing interest in how broader ecological factors like climate change will interact to affect children’s development now and in the future. He has published on climate change, child health and wellbeing in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health, in an upcoming book chapter, and in the mainstream media including The Conversation and Crikey. He is the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth’s representative on the Climate and Health Alliance’s committee of management and a guest editor for a special edition of the new international journal Children on the impact of climate change on child health.
Children are innocent and non-consenting victims of climate change. They are particularly vulnerable to its negative effects because of their immature neurobiology and physiological systems. The importance of early childhood development is critical to a full analysis of climate change risks and risk reduction options. Brad’s background in early childhood development research across a broad range of areas (e.g. early language and socio-cognitive development, parenting, behaviour development) and his work on the intersection with climate change risk means that he has much to contribute to the Think Tank. For example, his research with disadvantaged and Indigenous children would add significantly to the conversation about the health and interrelated social impacts associated with climate related changes in livelihood and disadvantage. Similarly, his research into the community, family and parental factors that are important for positive early childhood development has implications for the discussion of security, social cohesion and conflict.
Aysha’s research work focuses on climate change responses in primary producers, especially farmers, winemakers and fishers. Current work explores transformation (fundamental change) for climate change and all of the risks and opportunities involved. Health was identified as one of these important factors. She contends that mental health (stress) is both caused by, and a barrier to, climate change responses and is keen to explore this hypothesis further. There are also other factors around health to pursue, including the role of social networks, social capital, age and experience of extreme events in improving or decreasing climate change responses.
She is a social researcher, interviewing people about climate change. She has found that there is confusion and concern about climate change. She is very interested in being involved in the Think Tank because she has found health and climate change to be particularly important in her research. Health affects how farmers and fishers think about climate change, as well as what actions they are able to take, and health is also affected by the effects of climate change that are already occurring – physical and social/political. In her recent work, especially in terms of mental health (stress), but not exclusively, she is trying to explore the complex relationship between health and climate change. As the cohort that she researches is also an ageing demographic, health has a range of impacts in that regard also. She will contribute her direct experiences with primary producers and knowledge of social science methods/literature.
Sally joined Doctors for the Environment Australia as WA Student Representative whilst studying for an MBBS with Honours. In 2012, she completed a Masters of Science in Public Health (Environment and Health Stream) with Distinction at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her thesis, ‘Estimating the Health and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Electrically-Assisted Bicycle Use in Perth, Western Australia’, achieved the highest possible mark. A subsequent internship at the World Health Organization’s European Centre for Environment and Health focused on health impacts of climate change in the European Region, and health co-benefits of mitigation. She has since completed further clinical training, and volunteers for Doctors for the Environment Australia.
She can contribute a wide understanding of the health impacts of climate change, developed while studying. She has a particular understanding of the scientific basis for measuring heatwave and air pollution impacts, and can contribute a social sciences approach. Her Masters in Public Health and current role as a clinical doctor give her an understanding of social impacts. As a result of work at the WHO on health impacts of climate change and policy responses in the European Region, she can offer an international perspective on research and policies to mitigate and adapt to health impacts. Her role with Doctors for the Environment Australia in the political sphere represents an ability to offer insight into policy-relevant research. She can consider synergies with other areas of health, such as ‘health co-benefits’ of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Judith’s research has facilitated the development of tools to evaluate microbial food safety and quality during harvesting, processing and distribution. Judith’s expertise –a mixture of engineering, food technology and microbiology – is now embodied in mathematical models that predict changes in microbial populations in foods. In her doctoral studies she developed predictive models for pathogen proliferation in seafood products subjected to the fluctuating temperatures (from harvest to consumer). That experience has been extended to modelling risks in milk from the farm to milk processing plants and development of decision-support tools that have been embraced by the Victorian dairy industry.
Judith’s work aims to increase the availability and specificity of tools to monitor microbial quality and safety of foods in real-time in supply chains. She is confident that predictive microbiology models and new sensor and data-logging technologies can provide an indication of the safety and quality of food products during distribution. Importantly, predicted long-term increases in the temperature of waters from which shellfish are grown and harvested and in ambient air temperatures affecting food distribution, can translate to increased bacterial growth in/on food products and reduction of shelf life or increased food-borne disease risk due to increased pathogen growth. The development and use of predictive models and sensor/data-logging technologies can help to quantify the effects of temperature changes, and be used to find optimal conditions during processing and distribution, to minimise the possibility of microbial hazards in foods and, from that, to protect public health.
Ailie’s research examines changes and variability in climate extremes in Australia and their associated physical processes. This includes research on extreme temperatures, drought and heavy rainfall. Her work has highlighted significant changes in high-impact climate events that are strongly relevant to both physical and mental health. She is supervising two PhD students working on problems directly related to climate extremes and health in urban environments, including climate change and urban heat island effects. This is part of projects run through the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities in which she is a Partner Investigator.
Climate extremes, including extreme temperatures, drought and extreme rainfall can have acute effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of Australians. She brings expertise on the climatology of these extreme climatic events, and their likely changes with climate change, to the Think Tank. Her expertise includes knowledge on the future changes in climate extremes in Australia. She understands the nuances of regional climate change projections with climate change, including the uncertainties in these projections. These uncertainties will play a significant role in how we develop thinking around the challenges to health risk by climate change.
Donna has researched and published about climate extremes and human health. She leads a multidisciplinary NHMRC project grant in this research field, and is building a graduate and postgraduate group studying climate extremes and human health in large urban areas in industrialised and industrialising cities around the world.
She can contribute to the key areas of (1) temperature and extreme weather events and impacts on human health, and (4) livelihood and disadvantage. Her research experience with climate experts on the impacts of extreme weather on human health, and a decade of experience working with Indigenous communities in northern Australia and the socio-economic differences will provide context and knowledge to draw from to engage with other researchers. She is experienced in bringing together research teams that include experts from a range of faculties (law, science, built environment, social science), a skill relevant to the Think Tank’s multidisciplinary research agenda.
Yuming’s research interest is in assessment of the impacts of environmental risk factors on health using advanced statistical models. He is developing/participating in an international collaboration to assess the disease burden of global climate change on human health. His research findings have been published by peer-reviewed journal, and he is a peer reviewer for many of them.
With much experience in the preventive medicine, environmental epidemiology and biostatistics, he is uniquely placed to understand challenges to health in the context of climate change. He understands the gaps in climate change and health field when translating the research findings to policy making. As a biostatistician, he has unique insights into the potential knowledge/skills gaps that may limit both the effective utilisation of cutting-edge climate change data, and subsequent interpretation and translation of results. He routinely communicates with scientists from different disciplines. He leads and participates in analyses for several international collaborations and, in this capacity, liaises with scientists with diverse perspectives to encourage multidisciplinary approaches to problem-solving.