Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

Human Health and Well-Being

How can we understand and support human health and well-being in the face of combined environmental and social vulnerabilities?

The environment has dramatic and wide-ranging impacts on our physical and mental health and on the well-being of human communities. Humans are subject to a myriad of anthropogenic and natural stressors affecting us throughout our lives, including pollutants, changes to climate the built and natural landscape, and catastrophic weather events. Impacts on human health and well-being include increased morbidity and mortality from heat and cold stress, cardiovascular and respiratory illness, developmental issues, nutritional deficits, and mental health problems. These environmental conditions combine with the characteristics of humans and their societies that increase vulnerability or resilience to operate at multiple levels.

The Institute works across spatial and temporal scales to study how stressors at the micro level, and their impacts on human bodies are mitigated or amplified by the human condition, and subsequently change the sociocultural fabric of societies. Understanding these complex and multi-level interactions between environmental change and human health and well-being is a scholarly and policy challenge for the 21st century. The Institute capitalizes on Brown’s laboratory, bioinformatics and field strengths, fostering links across faculties to nurture collaborations between the life, physical, and social sciences, and the humanities. It coalesces research around broad themes of: determinants of exposure to natural and anthropogenic environmental stressors, and policy mechanisms to reduce exposures; biological mechanisms by which multiple environmental factors impact human health and by which human bodies, populations and societies might adapt to climate change; and the direct and indirect effects of climate change on human health and well-being.

For additional information, contact Theme Leader

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