In a summer unlike any other, DCRP students continue to find ways to engage with their communities and have meaningful experiences. This week, we are sharing updates and reflections from four students.
This summer, Emily Gvino is completing her Gillings School of Global Health practicum requirements with the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA), a sub-organization under NOAA as part of their Climate Program Office’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program. CISA’s work focuses on applied research and interventions to mitigate the impacts of climate change on health. Emily is working with Dr. Ferdouz Cochran, concentrating on community engagement regarding their heat tools. The primary deliverable is designing a survey for their healthcare coalition and public health stakeholders who use or could be using their heat index tools. The team is hoping to also measure their perception of risk related to climate change, the information they need to understand how climate change impacts their work, and the barriers or opportunities they experience in this area. Emily hopes to utilize the data gathered from the survey to build the foundation for her Master’s Project this coming year. The secondary delivery will be a virtual engagement playbook to inform CISA’s outreach and engagement efforts with stakeholders in North Carolina and South Carolina during the pandemic.
Heat waves and severe climate disaster events result in increased human morbidity, financial and economic losses, exacerbated mental health issues, among many other impacts that are concerning due to environmental justice and social equity issues. The solutions to this will have to be interdisciplinary: changes in human behavior, public health interventions, policy implementation, and adaptive land use planning, which is why Emily would like to explore these topics for her MP.
In addition, Emily is continuing her academic year graduate assistantship by working part-time for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program (CPC). Her primary projects involve leading quality control and coding efforts for the newly-launched Vaping Prevention Resource; administrative support for the PopSci Junior Faculty program and other CPC efforts; and original research and manuscript writing with faculty researchers.
As a part of my internship with the Transportation Planning Team at the Town of Chapel Hill, I have taken on the completion of a comprehensive inventory of all bicycle parking and maintenance resources within Town limits. This inventory, which started in May and is scheduled to be completed sometime during the fall, will double as my Master’s Project and be available to the public as an interactive webmap.
Living in suburban Texas this summer has given me a new appreciation for permeable edges. Here, fences that keep residents in, others out, and people from each other separate the landscape into neat boxes. In this landscape, a car becomes necessary to access natural, recreation, and social experiences. This experience has reaffirmed for me the need to create recreational spaces with permeable edges and open access for all.
When we started at DCRP in the fall, I don’t think any of us imagined we would go through a global pandemic together. I’ve always thought about the field as a highly collaborative, interactive space to problem solve, but this tests those assumptions. However, every day, I see how this pandemic is affecting us – people are passionate about economic, social, and environmental issues and they’ve doubled-down on their desire to solve wicked planning problems. Is this situation idea for our degrees? No. But I think it has made us more aware of the greatest gaps and needs going forward.
Featured Image: New East Building. Photo Credit: Alison Salomon