Kevin has worked in the Environmental Health and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) fields for over a decade in the academic, non-profit and government sectors and now is a Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI) postdoctoral research fellow with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Kevin received his BS in Biology and Political Science from Saint Michael’s College in 2002; his MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University in 2008; and his PhD in Environmental Health from the Boston University School of Public Health in 2014. Before joining YCEI Kevin held adjunct and co-instructor appointments as GIS faculty at the Boston University Metropolitan College and Boston University School of Public Health. Kevin’s dissertation was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) pre-doctoral fellowship to analyze the relationship between chronic exposure to ultrafine particulate matter and cardiovascular health as a member of the community assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health Study (http://sites.tufts.edu/cafeh/). As a YCEI postdoctoral fellow Kevin will bring his enthusiasm for working at the intersection of science and policy as a member of Michelle Bell’s lab to examine the role of land-based mitigation strategies on urban heat island effects and health impacts.
Climate Change Health Impacts:
Projections on population migration indicate that by 2030 approximately 60 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban centers making urban heat island effects a global public health concern. Projected increases in the frequency and duration of extreme heat events from climate change in urban environments is a public health concern with an identified gap in understanding the effects of ongoing land-based mitigation strategies ability to reduce or modify urban heat island and heat-related mortality/morbidity. Climate action plans would benefit from a dual emphasis on both green-house gas emissions and land-based drivers of warming to reduce future impacts of extreme heat events from climate change on public health. Many urban centers in the United States have developed climate action plans at the state or local level that focus predominantly on green-house gas emission reduction, but far less attention has been paid to include land-based drivers of climate change in the urban environment such as albedo and vegetation levels. Initial studies of urban reforestation and albedo enhancement indicate that increasing these land covers has the benefit of reducing temperatures in urban centers. Being able to directly link proposed climate action strategies with health benefits could provide a new direction to discuss health impacts of climate change.
Air Pollution Exposure to Ultrafine Particulate Matter (UFP):
There exists a small but growing body of research on ultrafine particles (1-100nm in aerodynamic diameter, UFP), and associated health outcomes. Vehicle emissions are the primary source by which people are exposed to UFPs and approximately 11% of US households reside within 100 m of highways according to the 2000 census. There is a limited amount of epidemiological data available on the health effects of long term exposure to UFPs, no national network to monitor UFPs, and no standards to regulate emissions of UFP. Our society needs to understand the associations between chronic exposure to UFP and health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease. The research being conducted by the community assessment of freeway exposure and health study will contribute to a new and growing body of analyses that can inform future policy discussions about whether to regulate UFP exposure and, if so, at what level. New policy solutions and monitoring strategies may need to be developed if UFP concentrations are found to be causing adverse health effects in epidemiology studies.