Health Disparities Among Older Adults following Tropical Cyclone Exposure in Florida, USA, 1999-2016


Mencoff Hall 205

Kate Burrows, Voss Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute at Brown University for Environment and Society

Abstract: This talk will report on recent findings on the health effects of tropical cyclones (TCs). In this work we investigated whether hospitalization risks from TCs in Florida (FL) varied across individuals and communities. We modeled the associations between all storms in FL from 1999-2016 and over 3.5 million Medicare hospitalizations for respiratory (RD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). We estimated the relative risk (RR), comparing hospitalizations during TC-periods (2 days before to 7 days after) to matched non-TC-periods. We then separately modeled the associations in relation to individual and community characteristics. TCs were associated with elevated risk of RD hospitalizations, but not CVD. We found evidence of modification by community level characteristics, but not individual characteristics. More research is needed to understand the potential mechanisms and causal pathways that might account for the observed differences in the association between tropical cyclones and hospitalizations across communities. 

Bio: Kate Burrows is a Voss Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute at Brown University for Environment and Society where she studies the relationship between climate- and weather-related disasters and health. She has interdisciplinary training in environmental epidemiology (PhD, Yale University School of the Environment) and social-behavioral sciences (MPH, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health) which allows her to investigate the health issues associated with environmental disasters from a unique perspective that incorporates sociocultural determinants of health and environmental exposures. Kate is trained in mixed-methods approaches and she conducts qualitative research at the local level and quantitative research using big data at the national level. In her local level research Kate is committed to community based participatory approaches and she believes that effective climate adaptation requires the integration of local and indigenous perspectives. 

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