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Junior Research Group “Climate Change and Aging in a Global Perspective” (2012-2015)


Climate change is one of the largest potential threats to global health. While it is widely accepted that vulnerabilities to the health impact of climate change will vary according to gender, socio-economic status, education, social networks and immobility, the specific vulnerability of the elderly has received very little scientific attention so far. Some studies from UK and Sweden indicate that the elderly might not only be more vulnerable, particularly to heat, air pollution and climate-sensitive infectious diseases, but they may also have a larger climate footprint, thus at the same time disproportionately contributing to and suffering from climate change. Studies have also shown that the elderly male population are more reluctant to consider climate-induced hazards a threat to their own health.

Set-Up

In addition to the topic, the set up of this junior group is quite innovative: it spans to universities with their research capacity on aging and climate:
Heidelberg University (Institute of Global Health, Network Aging Research NAR)
Umeå Universitet, Sweden (Centre for Global Health Research and Centre for Aging and Living Conditions)
The postdoc, Dr. Barbara Schumann is located in Umeå. Her topic is the historical analysis of the impact of climate change on population health in Väster Botten Province.
The two doctoral students – details are based at the NAR in Heidelberg. Although the students will be supervised by Prof. R. Sauerborn of the Heidelberg Medical Faculty and other fellows of the NAR, the group will have regular meetings, skype and personal to combine their methods skills and exchange research results.
Two doctoral scholarships were awarded on July 17, 2012 on the following topics

  • Climate Change and Aging in GermanyAlina Herrmann, Germany
    Topic: The role of general practitioners in preventing heat-related health-risks for the elderly in the community in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
     
  • Climate Change and Aging in low and middle income countries Aditi Bunker, New Zealand
    Topic: The impact of climate on the health of the ageing population in Nouna, Burkina Faso.

The first meeting & research seminar of the Junior Group members with their supervisors form Germany and Sweden was held in Umea, Sept. 24-26, 2012.

HD: Prof. Konrad Beyreuther, Prof. Rainer Sauerborn
UM: Prof. Anders Brandström, Dr. Joacim Rocklöv, Prof. Peter Byass