Margot Charette attends to the annual meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation

In September 2016, Margot travelled to Merida, Mexico, to take part in the 23rd annual Regular Session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of North America. This year’s Council session focused on youth involvement in the areas of ecosystems and climate change. Margot was invited to be part of Canada’s youth delegation to participate and share some of her research findings during the public town hall session of the event.

More information about the CEC activities available here

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Lab research in the news: Some cities are falling behind in preparing for the effects of climate change

MA student Malcolm Araos talked with Stephen Buranyi from Vice Magazine this month to discuss the results of his masters research. Malcolm collected and analyzed climate change adaptations from more than 400 cities worldwide, and found that only a handful of cities are actually preparing for climate change.

See the Vice article here.

Read Malcolm’s research articles here:
Climate change adaptation planning in large cities: A systematic global assessment
Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change in Large Cities: A Global Baseline

And keep your eye out for a third publication from Malcolm’s masters, focusing on adaptation planning in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Lab research in the news: New research confirms Arctic travel riskiest in spring and fall

McGill Geography MA student Dylan Clark’s masters research was in the news this week. Dylan’s work, which builds on environmental epidemiology tools to model weather impacts on search and rescue events in the Arctic, was published recently in the journal Public Health. Dylan is supervised by Dr. James Ford, and Dr. Lea Berrang Ford was a committee advisor for his quantitative analysis.

See the CBC article here.

See the research article here.

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Former lab member, Joe Lewnard, in the news again

Joe Lewnard, who began his environmental epidemiology training in the McGill Geographical and Environmental Epidemiology Lab, contributes to international risk assessment and planning for Zika during the Brazil Olympics this month.

See the CBC article here.

See a related article by Joe in The WIRE here.

More information on Joe can be found on his website.

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McGill Mini-Science 2016: How can we adapt to climate change?

I was pleased to be selected as one of the speakers for McGill’s Mini-Science 2016: Weather and Climate: Going to Extremes. My lecture focused on the widely held recognition that the global climate is changing and that societies will need to adapt.

Using results obtained through the IHACC and TRAC3 projects (1: Ford, Berrang-Ford; 2: Lesnikowsk, Ford, Biesbroek, Berrang-Ford, Heymann), my lecture explored the implications of the dispersion of global funds to support adaptation. With $20-64 billion in fast-tracked funding already being invested, the 2015 Paris Agreement will increase this amount to $100 billion annually by 2020. Canada is among the largest adaptation donors to these funds. This growth in global finance for adaptation underscores the urgency with which to understand how and where adaptation is needed and is feasible, and monitor the use of adaptation funds. Are we adapting, to what, and how? This presentation will explore the challenge of global human adaptation to climate change, and explore efforts and opportunities to systematically track and evaluate progress on adaptation policy and practice.

You can watch the entire lecture for free here:

1: “Adaptation tracking for a post-2015 climate agreement.” J.D. Ford, L. Berrang-Ford, R. Biesbroek, M. Araos, S.E. Austin and A. Lesnikowski. Nature Climate Change 5:967-69 (23 October 2015). DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2744

2: “National-level progress on adaptation.” Alexandra Lesnikowski, James Ford, Robbert Biesbroek, Lea Berrang-Ford & S. Jody Heymann. Nature Climate Change (09 November 2015 ). DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2863

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Lab Member Isha Berry Publishes in Social Science & Medicine!

I am pleased to congratulate lab member Isha Berry on her recent publication in Social Science & Medicine! The article, entitled Leishmaniasis, conflict, and political terror: A spatio-temporal analysis, examines Leishmaniasis’ relationship to terror or political conflict. Isha’s study joins some of the few key quantitative examinations as to how Leishmaniasis coincides with conflict or political terror.

Currently pursuing graduate studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, this study is one of the great to come from Isha. You can find the article here:

Full citation:
Berry, I., & Berrang-Ford, L. (May 01, 2016). Leishmaniasis, conflict, and political terror: A spatio-temporal analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 1.)

Preview to the online edition of Isha's article

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Congratulations to Blanaid Donnelly for a successful PhD defense!

The lab is pleased to announce that Blanaid Donnelly successfully defended her PhD thesis this past week. Congratulations to Blanaid! Our lab network has one more alumni, and we look forward to supporting you in your next endeavour.

Blanaid’s thesis is titled, “Livestock livelihoods and Indigenous health vulnerability in Kanungu District, Uganda.” Blanaid has two articles published, and two more in preparation.

Blanaid’s past publications include Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasitaemia among indigenous Batwa and non-indigenous communities of Kanungu district, Uganda and A systematic, realist review of zooprophylaxis for malaria control.

Summer plans for the lab are quite exciting and we could not have had a better start! Again, congratulations to Blanaid!

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New paper led by IHACC student Sierra Clark on longitudinal analysis of mosquito net ownership and use in an Indigenous Batwa Population after a targeted distribution published in PLoS ONE

A new IHACC article on mosquito net retention among Batwa was recently published in PLoS ONE. Using a longitudinal approach, Clark et al. 2016 explored the rate of mosquito net retention after an IHACC targeted distribution event among 10 Batwa communities in Kanungu District southwestern Uganda. The results indicate that net non-ownership was high among the Batwa, particularly within the first 3-months following the distribution. Mass targeted distribution campaigns aim to reduce inequities in mosquito net ownership among different socio-economic groups. However, our data showed that amongst the Batwa, household socio-economic status determined retention of nets after the distribution and inequities in ownership increased over-time, disadvantaging the poorest households. This research implies that retention of freely distributed LLINs, particularly for impoverished populations, may remain subject to patterning by socioeconomic gradients. More effective longitudinal monitoring and evaluation programs are needed to assess the long-term impact of free LLIN distributions, particularly among the most vulnerable populations.

The article can be viewed at:

Clark S, Berrang-Ford L, Lwasa S, Namanya D, Twesigomwe S, IHACC Research Team, et al. (2016) A Longitudinal Analysis of Mosquito Net Ownership and Use in an Indigenous Batwa Population after a Targeted Distribution. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0154808. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154808

Preview of the article from the PLoS ONE site!

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IHACC team in Montreal March 8-9 to develop IHACC2 project proposal

Members of the IHACC team were in Montreal last week to work on developing a project proposal for phase two of the IHACC project, planning for another five years of work as phase one comes to an end this year. Team members from Canada, Uganda and South Africa were at the table at the McGill Faculty Club in this first meeting of the proposal development stage, including Dr. James Ford and Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford, Dr. Sherilee Harper, Dr. Shuaib Lwasa, Dr. Mark New, Mr. Didacus Namanya, and Ms. Michelle Maillet. Canadian team members will soon head to Peru to meet with the team there and work on finalizing the proposal later this spring. Keep an eye out for more news on plans for phase two of the project as the team continues to build the proposal.

Team gathers for a discussion on IHACC2

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Carol Zavaleta, MD, Shares Insights After Returning From Peru Fieldwork

Carol is excited to share her field report about her two trips to Peru where she worked with the Shawi Amazon Indigenous People. The two trips completed the necessary fieldwork required for Carol’s PhD thesis. For those of you unfamiliar with Carol’s work, her thesis investigates the current vulnerability of Shawi Amazon Indigenous people to food insecurity in order to identify potential adaption interventions that might mitigate risks to climate change.

Carol’s field report touches on a variety of pertinent discussions surrounding the appropriate conducting of fieldwork, including connecting with communities, creating meaningful relationships with guides, and incorporating members of the indigenous community into the research process.

Carol’s field report also offers personal insights. As a Peruvian Medical Doctor, she could not close her eyes “to the reality of indigenous health systems” and feels that the field work was essential in evolving her “perspectives about individual and collective Indigenous well-being.”

You can read the full field report here: Carol’s Field Report.

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