Climate change is expected to increase the frequency, duration, intensity, and spatial distribution of adverse environmental events such as wildfires, air pollution episodes, and extreme temperatures. Understanding how these increasingly common exposures impact perinatal health is critical in promoting maternal and child health in the changing climate.
My research helped push a new research paradigm by showing that health impacts of climate change-related events are far beyond respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes as previously acknowledged. It stimulated important discussions around the profound impacts of climate change on reproductive health. My team’s findings also informed policy decisions to recognize pregnant people as a vulnerable population to climate change. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report finally recognized pregnant people as a vulnerable population in 2022! The State of California just passed AB2238, which will create a system to rank heat events to help local governments take action to protect people, especially vulnerable groups.
Learn more about Dr. Ha’s lab: https://sites.ucmerced.edu/sandieha/ and published papers: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=D7nqsrsAAAAJ&hl=en.
For more stories about UC Merced Public Health Department faculty research, check out Faculty on the Forefront.