The Climate and Health Interdisciplinary Research Programme (CHIRP) at Leeds is based in the Priestly International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. CHIRP@LEEDS is a joint collaboration across the climate and global health themes, and partners the Leeds School of Earth and Environment, and the Leeds Institute for Health Sciences, including the Nuffield Centre for Global Health and Development. Led by Professor Lea Berrang-Ford, the programme integrates interdisciplinary expertise across Leeds faculties, including strengths in public health, epidemiology, medicine, engineering, climate science, nutrition, and geography.
Berrang Ford lab member Sarah MacVicar recently returned from presenting her research at the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference (October 18th-21st). This conference drew researchers and practitioners from around the globe to Mexico City, a conference site selected due to the impressive strides Mexico has made in advancing maternal and newborn health. Sarah’s abstract was selected from over 2700 submissions for a poster presentation in which she outlined some of the early findings from her research on birth outcomes and climate change in Kanungu District.
The timing of the conference is noteworthy considering the recent passing of the Sustainable Development Goals, and it served as a platform not only for the presentation of novel epidemiological and clinical research, but also as an opportunity for maternal and newborn health agenda setting. Three key themes were highlighted as ongoing priorities in the field: monitoring and evaluation of quality of care, better integration of care, and equitable coverage to help the most vulnerable mothers and babies.
Almost one month ago, students from the IHACC lab presented at the Inaugural Forum of Population Health Equity hosted by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The conference ran from September 9th to September 11th, with keynote speakers including David Stuckler (Cambridge), Nancy Adler (UCSF), Jussi Vahtera (University of Turku), David Williams (Harvard University) and more. The director of the Forum, Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, brought together leading researchers from around the world to present and share ideas about social determinants of health. Key ideas covered at the Forum ranged from macroeconomic shocks to the role of economic policies that shape population health, as well as neighborhood level effects like housing and race that play a role in health outcomes.
Three IHACC students comprised the GEEL team selected from a competitive pear-review process to present posters on a variety of interdisciplinary topics.
First year Epidemiology Master’s Student Sierra Clark presented findings from an ongoing project on her poster entitled “Acute gastrointestinal illness in an African Indigenous Population: The lived experience of Uganda’s Batwa.”
Kaitlin Patterson, an Epidemiology PhD student working on the food security of Batwa pygmies and climate adaptation strategies, presented her poster “Assessing severity and scale of food insecurity among the Batwa of Kanungu.”
Lastly, Sarah MacVicar, a Master’s Student in Geography working on the potential effects of climate change on maternal and child health, presented her poster “The intersection of Climate and Culture: A mixed methods study of seasonal trends in birth weight in Kanungu District, Uganda.”
All three students found the conference engaging and hope to prepare projects for next year's conference.