The first COVID-19 lockdowns improved air quality. Where are we a year later?

One of the few uplifting developments in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic was the remarkable boost in air quality around the world. As restrictions stilled cars, planes and boats, the change was so dramatic that a viral hoax claiming Italy’s newly pristine Venetian canals had attracted dolphins seemed no less plausible than a true story that Los Angeles, at least for a day, had the cleanest air in the world

But it didn’t last. After a couple months, restrictions loosened or became untenable, and traffic rebounded. In Los Angeles, record-high summer heat waves converted pollutants into smog-forming ozone. Apocalyptic wildfires darkened the skies. The smog returned.

Did the clean air mean anything? Was it evidence that collective action could clean the air faster than many thought possible, or just a fluke of the weather, or proof that even radical steps couldn’t fight climate change? The answer, UCLA air quality researchers say, isn’t precisely any of these but includes elements of all three.


The Southland’s tailpipe triumph

A December 2020 study led by UCLA professor Yifang Zhu found that while favorable spring weather helped, traffic reductions in Los Angeles last March and April were directly responsible for a roughly 30% decrease in nitrogen oxides, a common tailpipe emission. Once the lull in traffic ended, however, the pollutants returned.

“The good air quality can’t last if traffic-emission reductions don’t last,” said Zhu, a professor of environmental health sciences and senior associate dean for academic programs at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. “What our paper shows is that if we can find a sustainable, equitable way for people to drive less and telework more, there are significant air quality benefits from it.”

The study created traffic models based on transportation data from 2017 to 2020, allowing the researchers to pinpoint which improvements were caused by an absence of vehicles and which were caused by weather, such as the abundance of spring showers last March and April. As any Angeleno knows, rain is the quickest way to clear the air.

“Lots of people asked me at the time about the clean air, and I said it’s great, but there’s also a meteorology component,” Zhu said. “When we fed meteorology into the model and controlled for its impacts, we still saw a good amount of reductions, so the traffic decrease turned into real air quality benefits.”


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By Alison Hewitt originally published March 16, 2021

Picture by Todd Jones

Parkinson’s Foundation goes online for annual Fresno educational summit.

The Parkinson’s Foundation is going virtual for its fifth annual educational summit on Feb. 25 in Fresno.

Titled the “Better Lives Together: Fresno Parkinson’s Summit,” it will cover holistic health, research into environmental exposures and exercise options.

The Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group is co-hosting the event via Zoom from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“The Parkinson’s Foundation is bringing experts and advocates together to share strategies for living better lives with Parkinson’s,” said Sarah Osborne, Parkinson’s Foundation community program manager in California. “Community education is a vital part of the foundation’s mission to help people live better today until there is a tomorrow without the disease.”

Speakers include Dr. Maya Katz, a board-certified neurologist who specializes in the treatment of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders and a clinical associate professor of neurology at Stanford; and Dr. Beate Ritz, a professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences at UCLA.

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By Larry Valenzuela originally published February 19, 2021

Picture by EMSL


Latest Evidence Suggests Wearing Face Shield With Mask For Optimal COVID-19 Protection

Thousands of studies are taking place in order to find out more information regarding COVID-19, which is still causing an ongoing pandemic worldwide. One of the most important aspects that is constantly being evaluated is how contagious the virus really is, and what we can do to prevent the virus spreading.

A recent study which was led by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Professor Yifang Zhu in the USA has established that even a basic cloth mask can provide a significant amount of protection against the transmission of COVID-19. In fact, the report provides evidence to show that the use of such face masks can reduce the spread of airborne particles by up to 77%.

Liqiao Li, Muchuan Niu, and Yifang Zhu compiled the report which assesses the effectiveness of face coverings to mitigate the transportation of airborne particles produced by coughing indoors. The report, which has been published in the Aerosol Science and Technology journal offers a fantastic insight into how we can protect ourselves and others from catching the virus.

Do Face Masks Work?

It is likely that at some point in the past ten months you have had to wear a face mask. Alongside many other countries, the UK has imposed rules that make it mandatory to wear a face covering in any public indoor area, from supermarkets to doctor’s surgeries. The study found that these masks were particularly effective, reducing the spread of respiratory droplets by a significant amount.

“We found that a simple cough could send particles more than six feet away, without face coverings. A cloth mask reduced cough particles by 77%.” reported Yifang Zhu, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. These figures suggest that face masks do work well, and that we should be using them as much as possible whenever we are going to be in close proximity to someone else. The news comes as nurses call for higher grade face masks to protect all staff.

Whilst evidence suggests that even a simple face cloth can provide adequate protection against cough particles in the air, is there a way to enhance this protection even further?

Face Mask or Face Visor

In the study, the use of a face shield by itself was shown to provide the least protection – in fact it reduced the spread of respiratory droplets by around just 4%. However, combining both a face shield and a face truly, truly enhanced face shield effectiveness, and in fact, provided the optimal protection. “The combination of face shield and cloth mask improved the particle reduction to 89%,” said Yifang Zhu in the report.

The report concluded that with cough particles being able to reach about 1.8m away from the initial source (with a face covering), stricter mitigation measures should be adopted in order to minimise infection via aerosol transmission. With this in mind, should we be combining face masks and face shields together in high-risk locations such as supermarkets?

Interestingly the governments own website guidelines highlight the employers responsibility for the health and safety of their staff and significantly recommend a risk assessment regarding the use of PPE.

The employer should also provide the PPE free of charge.

Read the full story at: 

For more information, please contact: Piers Baynton Tel: 01215445808 Email:


Image courtesy of Official U.S. Navy Imagery, licensed under CC BY 2.0. “David Hamm inspects a 3D printed face shield as part of the COIVD-19 response effort, March 28, 2020.” 


Simple cloth masks provide significant protection against COVID-19 transmission

A study led by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Professor Yifang Zhu has determined that even a simple cloth mask provides significant protections against COVID-19 transmission, reducing the spread of respiratory droplets by as much as 77%.

“We found that a simple cough could send particles more than six feet away, without face coverings,” said Zhu, professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and associate dean for academic programs at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (UCLA FSPH). “At about a foot away from the coughing source, a face shield by itself provided the least protection (i.e., 4%). In contrast, a cloth mask reduced cough particles by 77%, and the combination of face shield and cloth mask improved the particle reduction to 89%.”

The article, “Assessing the effectiveness of using various face coverings to mitigate the transport of airborne particles produced by coughing indoors” is published in the current electronic edition of the peer-reviewed journal Aerosol Science and Technology.

Zhu’s team, which includes UCLA FSPH scholars Liqiao Li and Muchuan Niu, set up a test space in a lab and measured the particle number concentration (PNC) and particle size distribution under seven different conditions: (1) no face covering; (2) face shield only; (3) cloth mask; (4) face shield + cloth mask; (5) surgical mask; (6) face shield + surgical mask; (7) N95 respirator or equivalent (i.e., KN95 mask).

The research suggests that relatively simple measures like masking, combined with physical distancing, hand hygiene, and specific steps taken with regards to being indoors or outside, can make a significant difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19, which has resulted in more than 1.26 million deaths worldwide.

“To minimize the infection risk of aerosol transmission, stricter mitigation measures should be adopted for indoor environments, which are more likely to be enclosed and crowded,” Li said. “One of the simplest is a mask.”

Support: This work was supported in part by the University of California, Los Angeles and Center for Occupational and Environmetnal Health.


Aerosol Science and Technology


Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Brad Smith, Senior Public Relations Officer

Boiling Point: These maps show how air pollution and COVID-19 can be a deadly mix

The LA Times interviewed COEH Director Dr. Michael Jerrett and Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles Director Martha Dina Arguello.

Welcome to Boiling Point, a newsletter about climate change, energy and the environment in California and the American West. I’m Sammy Roth, back in the saddle this week.

During a news cycle dominated by COVID-19 infections spreading through the White House as President Trump and his associates flout public health guidelines, I’ve been thinking about some of the people suffering the most from this virus: Black people and Latinos, who are more likely to get sick and more likely to die than white people.

I’ve also been thinking about the links between poor air quality and risk of contracting coronavirus, and the fact that people of color are more likely to breathe polluted air due to decades of racist housing and environmental policies. In California and across the country, redlining practices excluded Black people and Latinos from neighborhoods considered “desirable” and pushed them into housing near freeways, refineries and power plants.

Those links are front of mind for Martha Dina Argüello, too. She’s executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, and she sent me a fascinating map commissioned by her advocacy group that hasn’t yet been published elsewhere. It shows neighborhood-by-neighborhood pollution burdens across Los Angeles County, overlaid by COVID-19 case counts. Here it is:

It’s not hard to see what’s going on. The larger, darker blue circles — indicating more confirmed cases of coronavirus — are much more likely to appear in redder parts of the map, indicating areas with higher pollution burdens.

Read the full story at:…

By Sammy Roth originally published October 8, 2020.

New research shows that more parks could increase life expectancy in high-need communities

Based on data from the Los Angeles region, the study’s findings provide insights for communities across the country.

Prevention Institute, in collaboration with UCLA and the Powering Healthy Lives through Parks Community Advisory Board, has published new research about the relationship between parks and life expectancy and an advocacy toolkit that community-based organizations can use to push for park equity.

The research shows that:

  • Increasing park acreage in areas that face park deficits and low levels of tree canopy could lead to significant population-level increases in life expectancy.
  • Targeted investments in park infrastructure could have considerable regional benefits and increase longevity in Latino and Black communities.

Urban parks and green spaces support health by providing opportunities for physical activity, time in nature, social connection, and respite. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have played a crucial role in reducing stress and helping fend off depression. Parks also filter air, remove pollution, cool temperatures, and filter stormwater. But access to parks and green space is very unequal across lines of race and class. For generations, park inequities have unfairly and unjustly impacted low-income communities of color.

With resources from the Urban Institute through funds provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Prevention Institute partnered with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences and seven power-building organizations during a year-long project to understand the impacts of increasing park acreage in areas of LA County that face park deficits and low levels of tree canopy. UCLA used census tract-level data made available recently through the United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Project (USALEEP) to develop a predictive model that demonstrates the relationship between green space and life expectancy.

This project was guided by an advisory board that included seven local community-based organizations—Community CoalitionEsperanza Community Housing CorporationLong Beach ForwardNational Health FoundationSocial Justice Learning InstitutePacoima Beautiful, and Promesa Boyle Heights—as well as the Center for Health Equity at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Click here to read the Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building Research Summary, Policy Brief, and three community profiles. Learn more about the Visualizing and Powering Healthy Lives initiative.

Check out the Advocacy Toolkit for Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building

To achieve park equity, people living in communities that have been historically excluded from park-related decision-making must be heard. The materials in PI’s Advocacy Toolkit for Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building are designed to support community-based organizations, their members, and others who are building power to secure equitable investments in park infrastructure in disinvested communities. The toolkit was developed through research in LA County and provides insights for other US cities, because the underlying factors that lead to park inequities are present throughout much of the country.

Toolkit materials include:

  • policy brief that examines the origins of park inequities, lays out a policy framework for achieving park equity, and sets forth key recommendations that can be adapted by park equity advocates throughout the US.
  • research synopsis that describes the findings from new research linking availability of parks and life expectancy at the census tract-level in Los Angeles County.
  • A 4-page overview that summarizes key findings from the research synopsis and policy brief.
  • Three community profiles that highlight the work of park equity advocates in Boyle Heights and unincorporated East Los Angeles; Panorama City, Pacoima, and Sun Valley; and South Los Angeles.
  • Spanish translations of the 4-page overview and the community profiles.

Achieving park equity will require developing new policies and practices and reforming existing ones to: 1) prioritize investments in communities experiencing the greatest park deficits; 2) engage community members in transformative ways; 3) collect data on park inequities and make it publicly available; 4) fund comprehensive technical assistance and capacity-building; 5) support community-based organizations to be active players in parks and land-use decision-making; and 6) ensure transparency and community oversight of park investments.


For more information visit

As wildfire smoke becomes a part of life on the West Coast, so do its health risks

Wildfires raging in California, Oregon and Washington have led to some of the worst air quality in the world

Washington Post interviewed COEH Director Dr. Michael Jerrett for this piece.

SAN FRANCISCO — Every morning for the past few weeks, JoEllen Depakakibo has had a new kind of morning routine. She sets her alarm for 6 and opens the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow site on her phone. Newly fluent in the numbers of the air quality indexes, or the AQI, she checks the pollution levels compulsively throughout the day, waiting to make a difficult decision.

If the number passes 150, called “unhealthy” by the EPA, Depakakibo has her employees shut the main door and turn on a medical-grade air purifier inside Pinhole Coffee Shop, the cafe she opened here six years ago. If it passes 200, they close the cafe. She’s had to shut five times in recent weeks because of the smoke that has stubbornly settled over the city.

“I always check in with my staff to make sure they feel good about coming in. If they say they don’t, we won’t open,” Depakakibo said from her home in Oakland, where she and her wife had the windows closed and two air filters running to protect their newborn baby.

As record-setting wildfires continue to burn up and down the West Coast, the numbers are still hard to comprehend. More than 5 million acres burned. At least 33 people dead. One month of destruction.

Stemming from climate change and land management practices, the fires are also having a massive impact on people far from any actual flames. Massive plumes of smoke have converged and covered almost the entire western edge of the United States. It has drifted into the neighboring states of Nevada and Arizona, lowering air quality in some parts. And smoke has even blotted out the sun thousands of miles away in D.C.

The haze along the West Coast has created the most polluted air in the world over the past week, forcing millions of residents indoors. The Bay Area has had a record run of bad air days, with residents being advised to avoid generating additional pollution for nearly a month. Air filters and purifiers have largely been sold out, and some people are buying personal air-quality devices to use in their homes. Some have put towels around their door frames and windows. Going outdoors is dangerous for even healthy lungs, and exercising has largely been out of the question.

Even if residents follow all precautions — a task made all the more difficult by coronavirus-related limitations on indoor activities — the smoke is still creating short- and long-term health risks for everyone exposed, health experts say.

The particles from wildfires are dangerously small, less than a micron wide, or 10 to 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Their size lets them slip past the body’s usual defenses and lodge deep inside the lungs, passing into the bloodstream and reaching the heart and the brain. The fires aren’t just burning trees but are also destroying houses, power lines and other infrastructure. The smoke is a complex mixture of volatile organic chemicals, ozone, nitrogen oxides and trace minerals, but it is the particulates less than 2.5 microns in size that worry experts the most.

Exposure can lead to immediate problems such as headaches, coughing and wheezing, and a person can become short of breath and experience a racing heartbeat. The dense smoke is a bigger danger for anyone with a respiratory ailment such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, and long-term exposure can contribute to heart attacks, strokes and, possibly, depression and anxiety, said Michael Jerrett, a professor at the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“At these levels, even healthy people will start feeling symptoms,” said Gopal Allada, an associate professor of medicine focusing on pulmonary and critical care at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland.

The air in Portland was again the worst in the world on Wednesday, according to IQAir, which tracks air pollution levels globally. The EPA reported an AQI of 314 in the city as the Riverside Fire burned more than 135,000 acres in Oregon’s Clackamas County, roughly 50 miles away. Patients complaining of respiratory issues came into emergency rooms in the Portland area and sought help where they could find it.

On Monday, near downtown Portland, an aid group set up tents in the parking lot of the Lloyd Center mall. They handed out inhalers and masks. Medics treated irritated eyes.

One man showed up struggling to speak, his voice hoarse and his lips dusky. He told a medic, Tyler Cox, that he had COPD. Homeless, he had lost access to his nebulizer, a tool used for administering asthma medication.

Cox, an intensive care unit nurse volunteering in his free time, said he worried the temporary treatment might not be enough. “He could die if he’s in a place where he can’t get treatment,” Cox said in a voice made raspy by days of smoke exposure in the parking lot.

Victoria Olsen, another volunteer, said some people living on the streets have been tear-gassed by police in recent weeks amid the ongoing racial justice protests in the city.

“We have covid, we have the gas and then we have the smoke,” Olsen said.

Residents on the West Coast have for years dealt with the new realities of wildfire season, which tends to intensify in the fall when winds are high, the landscape is at its driest and before seasonal rains have begun. In November 2018, smoke from the deadly Camp Fire flowed into the Bay Area, causing people to stock up on N95 masks and air purifiers. Last year, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, just north of the Bay Area, triggered the same behavior.

It has become an annual event for residents in California, Oregon and Washington state: a week or two of smoke associated with a raging fire. Many already have some supplies and know what to do from past years.

This year is more difficult in many ways. Fire season came earlier than usual after an unusual lightning storm sparked many of the fires in California in mid-August. The blazes are also more widespread. At least 25 fires are burning in California and 29 in Oregon, according to officials. The pandemic has added complications, with breathable indoor spaces like offices, malls or movie theaters still largely off-limits.

And the smoke is lingering longer than usual — with more than a month of wildfire season to go.

Eight and a half months pregnant, Stephanie Sundstrom spends much of her time checking the EPA’s site and figuring out the best way to breathe clean air. To try to slow the toxic smoke leaking into her 110-year-old Portland house, she used duct tape to seal up a drafty back door. Aside from attending medical appointments, she tries to stay closed up in her bedroom, where a homemade air filter runs around-the-clock.

“I really want this to clear up before she gets here, because nobody wants their baby born in a smoky apocalypse,” said Sundstrom, 29, who works in marketing at Hewlett-Packard. “It just feels so unescapable; there’s nothing you can do. You can try to stay in your house, but everything just smells smoky.”

Like Sundstrom, many residents here monitor the air quality as they once did the weather. When deciding whether to go outside, they look up pollution levels for the locations around them on sites and apps like PurpleAir, AirVisual and AirNow. The maps show color-coded air-quality levels, pulled from government or low-cost sensors, typically ranging from “good” green to “hazardous” maroon.

PurpleAir is a Utah-based company that uses data from low-cost sensors it sells to map out air quality, and shares the data with other companies to map. The company has experienced a 1,000 percent increase in visitors to its website since the fires began, according to founder and CEO Adrian Dybwad, and has had a surge in orders for the air-quality sensors it sells. Air-quality apps have topped the download charts for weather over the past week, while traditional weather forecasts have added AQI numbers alongside temperature and humidity.

Read the rest of the article at

By Heather Kelly and Samantha Schmidt

Originally published September 16, 2020

The Air We Breathe

The New York Times interviewed COEH faculty Dr. Yifang Zhu about America’s wildfire air quality.

During a short walk in her Los Angeles neighborhood a few days ago, my colleague Jill Cowan could smell and feel the smoke that had entered her throat. In Estacada, Ore., southeast of Portland, Lisa Jones told The Washington Post that breathing the air felt “like sticking yourself in a little room with 12 people all around you, smoking cigarettes.” A friend of hers, Deborah Stratton, added, “It burns your chest.”

The worst effects of the wildfires are the direct ones: the deaths, the loss of homes and the destruction of natural habitat. But the secondary pollution effects — from the smoke that is clogging the air — are not minor.

The world’s most polluted cities are typically in Asia, like Delhi, Beijing, Lahore and Dhaka. Over the last few days, though, Portland, Ore., has had significantly worse air quality than any other city in the world. The air in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle hasn’t been quite so bad, but it has still been worse than in virtually any place outside the U.S.

Long-term exposure to the tiny particles in polluted air increases the risk of asthma, lung disorders, heart attacks and strokes. But even short-term exposure can lead to more respiratory problems, as Yifang Zhu, a professor at the U.C.L.A. Fielding School of Public Health, told my colleague Sanam Yar. And this year’s wildfires — some of which have already been going for about a month — may have weeks to burn. California’s wildfire season still has four months left.

“Two months of this kind of air quality is really going to impact people,” Pawan Gupta, a research scientist at the NASA’s Universities Space Research Association, said.

By David Leonhardt

Originally published September 15, 2020 at…

UCLA joins consortium to address environmental change and its health impacts

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) has joined the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA), a consortium of more than 200 universities, research institutes, and government agencies committed to understanding and addressing global environmental change and its health impacts.

“Joining the PHA will give FSPH new opportunities to engage in the emerging field of planetary health, which addresses the complex and interconnected health and environmental issues the world faces today,” said Yifang Zhu, Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs. “Being part of the PHA community will provide FSPH students and faculty with research and networking opportunities with other universities around the world.”

Launched with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2016, the Planetary Health Alliance focuses on advancing research focused on planetary health, a field of science that is focused on characterizing the human health impacts of human-caused disruptions of Earth’s natural systems.

The PHA, which also seeks to advance education and policy, includes institutions from more than 40 countries and is supported by a secretariat based at Harvard and a steering committee of international experts. Member institutions include the American Public Health Association, the California Academy of Sciences, and the University of California Global Health Institute, among others.

At the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, the PHA’s liaison will be Miriam Marlier, assistant professor of environmental health sciences, who previously collaborated with other PHA members when she was at Columbia University in New York. Marlier, whose research focuses on wildfires and the use of remote sensing to improve disaster response in the United States, India, and Indonesia, came to UCLA FSPH this year from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, where she studied similar questions.

“The Planetary Health Alliance does fantastic work and the partnership is a great fit for our school—PHA brings together people in academics as well as practitioners,” said Marlier, a UCLA alumnus who earned her doctorate at Columbia. “It’s unique and really helpful to have that sort of opportunity where you’re connecting people who are doing basic research with people who are more tied to the policy and implementation side.”

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public’s health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 690 students from 25 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.

Originally published September 4, 2020 at…

UCLA announces creation of Center for Healthy Climate Solutions

UCLA announced Wednesday it has created the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions under the aegis of its Fielding School of Public Health to combat “the most significant public health disaster we face.”

“Los Angeles is a city that tackles our toughest challenges by tapping into the innovation and creativity in our own backyard, and this UCLA center will help us build a safer, cleaner and more equitable city and world,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is chair of C40 Cities, a global organization of almost 100 cities committed to action against climate change.

UCLA C-Solutions, as the center will be known, will collaborate with public officials and community partners, including the mayor’s office, to advance research-based strategies for strengthening communities’ ability to adapt to climate change’s harmful health effects and slowing its impact.

“Climate change is the most significant public health disaster we face, with effects that are already being felt and will only become more severe if we don’t take bold and immediate actions,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the co-director of C-Solutions and a UCLA distinguished professor-in-residence of public health and medicine. “If we don*t solve the climate issue, we won’t have a habitable planet. End of story.”

Fielding was Los Angeles County’s public health director and health officer for 16 years and recently co-chaired Healthy People 2030, which set national health objectives for the next decade. He said climate change should no longer be viewed solely as a future problem, but as a current crisis.

In major cities in the U.S. and around the world, more frequent heat waves are causing increased numbers of illnesses and deaths. Hotter and drier conditions are resulting in longer, more intense wildfire seasons. Warmer ocean temperatures have increased the intensity of hurricanes, cyclones, and tropical storms, and the wide-ranging effects range from flooding to a higher incidence of anxiety and depression.

While climate change ultimately affects everyone, the health risks are disproportionately felt among low-income families, people of color, outdoor workers and those with chronic health conditions, Fielding said. The center will prioritize research, policy recommendations and advocacy efforts that could benefit those vulnerable groups.

“We know from research that there are many ways to mitigate or adapt to climate change that come with public health co-benefits; for example, promoting active travel with better infrastructure for walking and biking reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also increases beneficial physical activity in the population,” said C-Solutions co-director Michael Jerrett, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Fielding School.

“Studies have found that air pollution is associated with 8 million deaths a year worldwide from heart conditions, strokes, lung cancer and other health issues, and estimates indicate that moving to a more sustainable energy system to reduce climate change would save about 1 million lives a year …”

C-Solutions’ work is already underway. The center, which includes UCLA faculty experts as well as students training to serve as the next generation of climate health leaders, prioritizes research, innovation and the practical application of solutions. For example, research being conducted by Jerrett addresses the health benefits of measures to prevent wildfires and reduce exposure to related air pollution.

And to ensure that solutions will have lasting positive impact, the center is working with community organizations. An effort underway with the Prevention Institute is aimed at understanding the life expectancy benefits from increasing green space and parks, which also help people adapt to the warming climate by cooling cities.

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, has 690 students from 25 nations engaged in “building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world,” according to a UCLA statement.

Originally published September 2, 2020 at…

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