Newswise — LOS ANGELES (Nov. 30, 2021) – In the aftermath of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) this month, experts from the public and private sectors will meet Tuesday, Nov. 30, at UCLA to discuss the expected impact of climate change on the health of Californians.

“With an increasingly urgent need to adapt to the changing climate, the built environment offers unique opportunities for programs and new practices that can protect and improve human health. In order to effectively capitalize on these opportunities, it is critical to engage stakeholders from real estate, development, public health, public policy, climate adaptation, and other industries,” said Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences and deputy director of the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions. “The challenges – such as more frequent and severe heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods — can be destructive to the built environment, harm human health, and displace communities.”

As an example, unless climate change is slowed significantly, more than three feet of sea level rise (SLR) is expected in California by the end of the century, potentially flooding communities that are currently home to more than 145,000 residents.

“There is a perception that coastal areas in California are wealthy and will be protected against sea level rise,” said Dr. Lara Cushing, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Jonathan and Karin Fielding Presidential Chair in Health Equity and an assistant professor of environmental health sciences. “Many of the areas that face the greatest threats are older, industrial communities, generally working class, and with many residents who are of people of color – who do not get a lot of attention when it comes to climate resilience strategies.”

This week’s event - 'Climate Change, Health and the Built Environment Discussion Series, Part 1: California's Landscape' – will begin at 11:30 am, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 – and will include presentations by:

  • Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who will be the keynote speaker;
  • Moderator: Tim Kawahara, Founding Executive Director, UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Dr. Elizabeth Rhoades, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Ryan Vaughn, Jupiter Intelligence
  • Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences and director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters;
  • Dr. Lara Cushing, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Jonathan and Karin Fielding Presidential Chair in Health Equity and assistant professor of environmental health sciences.

The first installment in this series, California’s Landscape, will provide an overview of the current threats to state (extreme heat, wildfire, sea level rise, drought, air quality) and discuss the ways each of these issues is mitigated/exacerbated by the built environment. Each of these topics will be linked back to health and equity and will lay groundwork for understanding the level of threat and set up discussion about ways to respond.

The project is supported by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions, the [email protected] (UCLA Anderson School of Management), and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate.

NOTE: Media availabilities:

  • Eisenman will be available for in-person interviews;
  • Jackson will be available for remote (Zoom) interviews;
  • Cushing will be available for remote (Zoom) interviews;

If interested, please contact Brad Smith, Senior Public Relations Officer, to help coordinate media interviews with the faculty experts.

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 761 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.

Virtual Event Link: The project is supported by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions, the [email protected] (UCLA Anderson School of Management), and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate.