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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: New Model to Predict Social Instability as it Relates to Climate Change, Health

While previous studies have uncovered an undeniable relationship between climate change, health and social stability, key questions remain about the pathways linking these factors. Now a new body of research from the University of Washington aims to connect the dots.

Researchers from the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) and the Department of Global Health, which bridges the UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine, have developed a model that explains and predicts social unrest as it relates to climate change and human health. The predictive model, published April 15 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, could eventually be used for health policy interventions.

“Human health is an important piece of the relationship between climate change and social stability,” said Dr. Sam Sellers, the article’s lead author and a senior fellow at the CHanGE center. “When thinking about climate refugees, for example, human health plays a big role in affecting the nature of their migration and the resulting outcomes. Or when staples of life and commerce like food production – which is climate-sensitive – are threatened, instability is sure to increase, especially in low- and middle-income nations.”

Dr. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, and Dr. Jeremy Hess, a UW associate professor of emergency medicine, environmental and occupational health sciences and global health, were key authors of the framework.

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