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Climate change, human health and social impacts node

Understanding and promoting health in the face of climate change
We're a joint research partnership between the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the University of Sydney, aimed at furthering our understanding of the impact of climate change on human health and social wellbeing.

Our aims

The Climate Change, Human Health and Social Impacts Node at the University of Sydney, supported by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), is dedicated to understanding how climate change will impact human health and social wellbeing.

With an improved understanding of communities exposed to climate-related risks, we aim to better support adaptation programs that seek to protect and promote health in NSW, in the face of a changing climate.

Our research

Our diverse research program brings together more than 30 researchers with expertise in physical and mental health, urban planning, environmental health and health service delivery to understand the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on human health and society.

The environmental, social and economic consequences of climate change are complex, and communities will be affected in different ways. Recognising this, our partnership encourages collaboration and cooperative exchange of information between researchers with diverse expertise.

Together, we are providing:

  • research to inform adaptation programs that seek to improve public health and the delivery of health services in the face of a changing climate
  • a better understanding of vulnerability, which encompasses the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of different communities
  • practical information on building resilience in communities and the health sector.

Research showcase 2020

The Human Health and Social Impacts Node Research Showcase was held in March 2020 to showcase our successes to date and provide a forum to identify future collaborations and opportunities.

All the research presentation slides are available as links in the Research Showcase Program (pdf, 208.5kb).
 

Research highlights

Since the Climate Change, Human Health and Social Impacts Node was founded in 2017, we have delivered robust, sector-specific information to strengthen the delivery of health services in the face of a changing climate. Specifically, our work has contributed to:
1

Developing an agreed framework for NSW health research priorities to guide policy. 

(Research contact: Dr Sinead Boylan)

Project factsheet (pdf, 457kb)
2

Understanding how climate change and floods affect mental health and community wellbeing.

(Research contact: Professor Ross Bailie)

Project factsheet (pdf, 460kb)
3

Identifying how marginal forms of housing can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to climate change, particularly heatwaves and extreme weather events.

(Research contact: Associate Professor Ollie Jay)

Project factsheet (pdf, 437kb)
4

Monitoring how the risk of mosquito-borne diseases may change in northern NSW as temperature and rainfall increase.

(Research contact: Dr Cameron Webb)

Project factsheet (pdf, 561kb)
5

Assessing the impact of climate change on allergens in the air and respiratory illnesses, such as thunderstorm asthma.

(Research contact: Associate Professor Paul Beggs)

Project factsheet (pdf, 383kb)
6

The development of environmental health indicators.

(Research contact: Associate Professor Geoff Morgan)

Project factsheet (pdf, 457kb)
7

Understanding the impacts of climate change on the food supply in NSW.

(Research contact: Dr Arunima Malik)

Project factsheet (pdf, 1.5mb)
8

Climate change, housing, and health: Thermal discomfort, air conditioner use and electricity consumption during hot weather. 

(Research contact: Associate Professor Ollie Jay)

Project factsheet (pdf, 1.4mb)
9

Impact of urban greening technologies on urban heat, climate adaptation and health.

(Research contact: Dr Mahsan Sadeghi)

Project factsheet (pdf, 290kb)
10

Governing the Health Impacts of Climate Change in New South Wales.

(Research contact: Dr Kate Owens)

Project factsheet (pdf, 239kb)
11

Developing strategies on climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation for the health system in NSW.

(Research contact: Dr Sinead Boylan)

Project factsheet (pdf, 295kb)
12

Environmental footprint assessment of NSW healthcare system.

(Research contact: Dr Arunima Malik)

Project factsheet (pdf, 176kb)
13

Identifying the impacts of climate change on mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations.

(Research contact: Dr Jo Longman)

Project factsheet (pdf, 202kb)

Our people

 
  • Dr Sinead Boylan, Node Executive Officer, University of Sydney
  • Dr Richard Broome, Director, Environmental Health Branch, NSW Health
  • Dr Stephen Bygrave, Director, Climate Resilience and Net Zero Emissions, Communities Greater Sydney Delivery Division, DPIE
  • Dr Neil Hime, Environmental Health Branch, NSW Health
  • Dr Katherine Owens, Senior Lecturer, The University of Sydney Law School
  • Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of Sydney
  • Dr Renee Dowse, Project Officer, Climate Research, Climate & Atmospheric Science, Science Division, DPIE
  • Associate Professor Geoffrey Morgan, Node Leader, University of Sydney
  • Dr Kathleen Beyer, Node Chair, DPIE
  • Ms Amy Withnall, Senior Policy Officer, Climate Change and Energy Savings Policy, DPIE