University of New South Wales, Australia
Featured Speech: Greener Cities, Healthier Futures
Associate Professor in Urban Health and Environment, School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Australia
Xiaoqi Feng is the Associate Professor in Urban Health and Environment in the UNSW School of Population Health, Australia. Xiao leads a program of research focused on enhancing population wellbeing through identifying modifiable environmental factors (e.g. green space) that shape health across the lifecourse. She has authored >160 publications, led major research projects (funding >$19.4M, including NHMRC), and translated her research into policy.
Xiao has won multiple research awards and her research has informed councils urban greening strategies (e.g. City of Sydney) She’s empowering young and diverse communities of scientists as the founding co-director of PowerLab (www.PowerLab.site). Internationally, Xiao is an elected council member and education committee chair for the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Asia-Western Pacific Chapter.
There appears to be increasing appreciation for the health benefits of nature and, simultaneously, a widespread movement to reforest cities around the world. This will hopefully lead to sustained health improvements for all, but there are some indications in the literature that this might not always be the case. In this presentation, I will outline evidence for the domains of pathways linking nature and health, highlighting matters of contingency and evidence that shows how some groups are able to reap the benefits more than others. In doing so, I will discuss opportunities for shifting future research emphasis from understanding the impacts of green space on health per se, to measuring the net-impacts of urban greening processes on health (in)equity.
University of Toronto, Canada
Featured Speech: COVID-19 effect on mental health and implications for care
Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Canada
Head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University Health Network
Dr. Roger McIntyre is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and Head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
Dr. McIntyre is also Executive Director of the Brain and Cognition Discovery Foundation in Toronto, Canada. Dr. McIntyre is also Director as well as Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) from Chicago, Illinois, USA. Dr. McIntyre is also Professor and Nanshan Scholar at Guangzhou Medical University, and Adjunct Professor College of Medicine at Korea University. Dr. McIntyre is also Clinical Professor State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, USA and Clinical Professor Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences University of California School of Medicine, Riverside, California, USA. Dr. McIntyre is the founder of the Canadian Rapid Treatment Centre of Excellence (CRTCE) and the CEO of Braxia Scientific Corp.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health crisis and also represents a global mental health crisis. This presentation will highlight the epidemiology of the mental health crisis with special attention paid to social economic and spatial determinants and will discuss mechanisms that would be mediating the increase rate of mental health related disorders and strategies at the population and individual level that can mitigate the risk.
Yale University, United States
Featured Speech: New Directions in Promoting Health and Wellbeing
Associate Research Scientist, Yale University, United States
Pain, Research, Informatics, Medical Comorbidities and Education Center, Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, United States
Center for Medical Informatics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
My career focuses on using continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and other wearable sensors to develop personally tailored physical activity interventions for people with diabetes, including digital coaching, gamification, and peer support. I work with the US Veterans Health Administration Innovations Ecosystem as the national Clinical Champion and a Quality Improvement Evaluator for a Digital Health Platform to integrate data from CGMs and fitness smartwatches into the VHA medical record while furthermore generating data-driven diabetes-specific lifestyle coaching. I am a member of the Sports Tech Research Network’s Special Interest Group on Quality Assessment of Sports Technologies.
The impact of social isolation on human health and wellbeing merits attention in the COVID era, especially for people already socially isolated due to having an uncommon chronic disease. A leading example is type 1 diabetes (T1D). It is diagnosed during childhood for 1 in approximately 400 individuals, meaning its patients have limited opportunity to connect to peers who share or understand their condition. An especially salient yet unexplored way that such social isolation impacts health and wellbeing is through physical activity (PA). Many critical PA opportunities for youth are group-based, but these activities are challenging for those with T1D due to stigma issues ranging from exposure of diabetes devices to the burden of explaining T1D management to uninformed teammates and coaches, parental hesitancy about participation, and the games’ often-sporadic timing that prevents T1D-specific preparation (an inherently complex and unpredictable challenge). My team has sought to address this gap by leveraging virtual tools to facilitate a group PA intervention for T1D, including PA self-management guidance from young adult role models living with T1D, individual and group PA goals, role-playing scenarios involving PA and T1D, and group PA activities. Thus, the program builds upon existing peer support discussion models by incorporating peer support into all activities ranging from discussion to practice to action. Adults with T1D have also benefitted from our on-demand virtual PA instructional tools, crediting the skills and confidence conferred by the tools. They have also asked for tools to support more consistent motivation, which we are beginning to develop through machine learning for just-in-time adaptive interventions. Together, these studies speak to the promise of virtual technology to address longstanding barriers to PA, health, and wellbeing resulting from the social isolation of living with uncommon chronic diseases.
Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
Featured Speech: Lifestyle Medicine During and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic
Assistant Professor, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
Vice-President, Asian Health Literacy Association, United Kingdom
Chair, Nutrition Health Literacy Interest Group, International Health Literacy Association, United States
Dr. Duong has run a number of research projects in Asian countries, and published 43 original research articles on 25 ISI journals. He has been serving as an Associate Editor of Specialty Section – Eating Behavior on Frontiers in Nutrition and Frontiers in Psychology, a Guest Editor of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a reviewer of 32 international journals. Dr. Duong has received 14 honorable academic awards from national and international organizations from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, and Vietnam.
Lifestyle has been changed significantly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which further affect the health outcomes. Lifestyle has been recognized and acknowledged as an essential prevention strategy for health promotion, as a foundational and efficacious therapy for a renovated healthcare system for lowering costs, improving health outcomes, and improving patient satisfaction and quality of life.
There are six core healthy lifestyles to improve health including (1) Nutrition - An Evidence-Based, Practical Approach to Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment, (2) Physical Activity, (3) Stress Management, (4) Sleep and Health, (5) Avoidance of Risky Substances: Steps to Help Patients Reduce Anxiety, Overeating and Smoking, (6) Positive Social Connection: A Key Pillar of Lifestyle Medicine.
In our studies, health-related behaviors were found as predictors and modifiers of physical and mental health and quality of life in healthcare workers, students, and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the strategies to get stakeholders come together to amplify healthy lifestyle promotion, education, and interventions are also presented.
University at Albany, United States
Featured Speech: How climate change, extreme weather, and disasters affect human health in New York State, USA
Shao Lin, Professor
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
School of Public Health
University at Albany, State University of New York, United States
Professor Shao Lin is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Associate Director for Global Health Research of University at Albany, State University of New York. She has a medical degree and obtained MPH and Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has 30 years of experience in directing research in assessing health impacts of environmental hazards including climate change (CC), extreme weather, air pollution, and man-made/ natural disasters. She served in multiple national committees on developing CC indicators, evaluating heat-stress definitions, and served at the CC Expert Panel to the US Congress. She has outstanding records of publications and external funding.
Introduction: While climate change has become an important public health and society concern, limited epidemiologic studies are available regarding the impacts of extreme weather on reproductive outcomes, and zoonotic diseases. Few research evaluated the health impacts of extreme weather events, natural disasters, and power outage (PO). Few or no translational studies have been done. This presentation will introduce the research findings or activities from multiple projects in New York State (NYS) on evaluating extreme heat, natural disasters, and power outage on multiple health outcomes, and then briefly describe our efforts on research translation.
Methods: We have used case-crossover study to assess the effects of extreme heat on cardiovascular diseases (CVD), respiratory admissions, birth defects, and Lyme diseases. We also used Distributed Lag Non-linear Models (DLNM) to evaluate the impacts of Superstorm Sandy, winter-storm, and PO on multiple health outcomes, after controlling for air pollutants and various time-varying variables.
Results: Extreme heat is related to the increased risks for CVD and respiratory hospitalizations (excessive risks ranged: 1.5% - 2%, P < 0.05) as well as cardiovascular defects (ORs ranged 1.23-1.78, P < 0.05) in NYS. The health risks seem to be higher in transitional season than in summer. After Super-storm Sandy, residents in the affected area had significantly increased risks of CVD, respiratory diseases, and injuries than the control areas (ORs: 1.35-2.64, and the health effects lasted longer (immediately to 1-2 years)). The joint effects of PO and weather events were the largest (RRs: 1.04-1.55), compared to those of weather events or PO alone. Conclusion: We found that extreme heat, extreme weather events such as hurricane/flooding and storms significantly affected multiple diseases, especially during transitional months. The health effects from the PO and weather events are the strongest. The effective strategies to educate general publics and reduce health burdens are needed.Keywords: extreme heat, natural disasters, power outages, health outcomes, research translation
University at Albany, United States
Featured Speech: Environment and COVID: Evidence from Weather, Air Pollution and Green space
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany, United States
Kai Zhang, MS, MA, PhD is an Empire Innovation Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the University at Albany, State University of New York. Dr. Zhang received a PhD degree in Environmental Health and a MA degree in Statistics at the University of Michigan, and a MS degree and a BS a degree in Environmental Engineering in Tsinghua and Southeast University in China, respectively. Dr. Zhang’s research interest focuses on characterizing climate-related exposures, reducing the human health effects associated with disasters, and exploring the role of environmental stressors (air pollution, natural environment, built environment and social environment) in relation to chronic diseases. His expertise includes exposure science, air quality, environmental and occupational epidemiology, GIS, statistics and data science.
COVID-19 poses an unpredictable and massive impact on public health globally. This talk will focus on revealing the complex relationship between total environment (natural, built, and social environment) and COVID using epidemiological methods, data science approaches, and big data analysis. In particular, we will demonstrate the role of weather parameters and air pollution in the transmission of COVID, and how the pandemic changes human behavior to access green spaces and parks. The approaches highlighted throughout the talk are applicable to epidemiological studies, risk assessment, and public health actions.
Monash University, Australia
Featured Speech: Climate Change Education: What's Next?
Professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia
Alan Reid is a Professor at Faculty of Education, Monash University.
He works with a range of environmental and sustainability education (ESE) research networks, locally and internationally. Key activities include editing Environmental Education Research, and supporting the Global Environmental Education Partnership.
Alan's research interests focus on educators’ thinking and practice in ESE, and traditions, capacities and issues in related theory, research and policy.
Recent work includes research, policy and practice development activities that address the climate emergency through education, education in relation to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, e.g. Mission 4.7, and addressing scientists' warnings about the environmental crisis.
Climate Change Education (CCE) is a subfield of educational practice that has emerged locally to internationally over recent decades. Given its brief history, it is not surprising that debates about its particular constitution and enactment continue to rage; for example, on whether there should be a shift of focus from climate change adaptation to mitigation or vice versa throughout schooling, and what is implied by ‘climate literacy’.
In responding to our topic, ‘what next?’, we can understand that such questions and responses tend to draw on distinctive sets of understandings and priorities related to clusters of emphasis in curriculum and pedagogy. These help us examine typical categories of provision that differentiate between: ‘climate education’, ‘climate change education’, ‘climate justice education’, and ‘climate emergency education’. Furthermore, such analysis shows that each cluster stands to offer stakeholders in education a partial rather than holistic understanding of what is powerful to know about climate change through education. Indeed, this has important implications for where the attention and energy of educators and learners should focus and when, particularly in terms of what can be expected of educational processes and outcomes.
Nevertheless, an analysis of each type of CCE would suggest some shared and core assumptions have emerged. These include that everyone should have the right to be taught and learn about climate change at whatever age and in whatever context, while given, for example, the work of the IPCC and the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, that teaching and learning needs to happen now, and be ongoing. A corresponding and equally demanding assumption is that these require educators and learners to have access to: (a) the latest information and unbiased expertise about climate action, and (b) genuine support for building related capacity and capabilities through educational processes and systems in the immediate to longer term.
In this talk and discussion, we will consider the details and examples of how these claims are worked through, alongside why the stakes have grown increasingly high for this fledgling field of educational activity. For example, debates about priorities have been supercharged by conflicting ideas emerging from, on the one hand, the global work of the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and a 2030 timeline, and on the other, social movements exemplified by Greta Thunberg, SchoolStrike4Climate and Net Zero initiatives. In short, what appear to be at stake for ‘what next’ is: (i) whether the insights converge or diverge on what is required – as well as what is not – for supporting climate action in the education sector, and (ii) what this all means for ensuring that educators and learners know they are engaging in quality CCE.
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Featured Speech: A National Study of the Mental Health Literacy of Community Pharmacists in New Zealand
Prof Frederick Sundram
Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Auckland
I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at North Shore Hospital, Waitemata DHB. I was a research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where I completed my PhD in Neuroimaging. I have a Masters in Healthcare Management and a Masters in Healthcare Informatics. I am the vice-chair of the RANZCP National Faculty of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. My research interests include mood disorders, neuroimaging, neuropsychopharmacology, self-harm/suicide, medical education, overlap between medicine and psychiatry, and digital health.
University profile webpage: https://profiles.auckland.ac.nz/f-sundram
Background: Community pharmacists are in a prime position to communicate with and assist those with mental health needs. However, mental health literacy, which includes beliefs and knowledge of mental health conditions, can impact the provision of pharmacy services. The mental health literacy of community pharmacists in New Zealand is currently unknown.
Objectives: To assess the mental health literacy of community pharmacists in New Zealand.
Methods: We employed a national cross-sectional online survey, evaluating attitudes towards mental illness, ability to recognise depression using a vignette and followed by questions related to the helpfulness of various interventions, and willingness to provide pharmacy services for people with mental illness in comparison to cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, opportunities for mental health training were explored. Participants were community pharmacists working in New Zealand contacted via mailing lists of professional bodies.
Results: We received responses from 346 participants. The majority of participants showed positive attitudes towards mental illness and correctly identified depression in the vignette (87%). Participants rated counsellors (84%) and physical activity (92%) as the most helpful professionals and intervention respectively while only 43% considered antidepressants as helpful for depression. When compared to other people in the community, long-term functioning of the individual described in the vignette was rated poorly, especially in terms of increased likelihood to attempt suicide (85%) and reduced likelihood to be a productive worker (64%). Approximately 30% of participants reported reduced confidence/comfort while approximately half of participants reported greater interest in providing mental health-related care compared to cardiovascular disease. The participants also highlighted several areas for future mental health training they wished to undertake.
Conclusions: We have identified positive attitudes towards mental illness in our study. Participants correctly identified and supported evidence-based interventions for mild to moderate depression. However, we highlighted the need for ongoing mental health training to address knowledge gaps and enhance the confidence in providing mental health-related care.