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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Health Impact Assessment of Climate Change Adaptation in the Blackwood Stirling (2009-2011)

Investigators:

Chief Investigators

PhD Candidate

  • Mrs Marie Little (WACHPR, Curtin University)

Collaborating Partners

  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Impact Assessment, Curtin University
  • Department of Health Western Australia

Funding

  • APA/CUPSA Scholarship

Background

The Blackwood Stirling region is a geographic area that is considered to be at risk from climate change due to a number of factors, including having climate sensitive industries, an ageing population and low socio economic status, it also is an important food bowl and tourism destination for Western Australia. Successful adaptation could ameliorate many of the potential negative health impacts for the region.

Project Overview

This collaborative research project will use Health Impact Assessment to investigate the creation of adaptive strategies to deal with climate change in 19 rural communities. Data from CSIRO, IPCC and other peer reviewed climate data will be presented to members of expert panels key stakeholders, and members of 19 rural communities. Using the Health Impact Assessment framework and a combination of nominal group technique, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and Delphi Methods Risk Evaluation these groups will: identify the vulnerabilities and risks of local communities to climatic hazards based on a range of physical, chemical, biological and socio-economic characteristics; evaluate the potential positive and negative health impacts of climate change in the region; establish priorities for action; develop potential adaptation strategies which provide positive health benefits and are not linked to the severity of climate change and; evaluate the potential adaptation strategies in terms of potential action by government (local, state and national) and other organisations.

Current Project Status

Two thirds of the data collection has been completed, with the remainder of the data to be collected over the holiday season, along with data analysis using nVivo. Following this the thesis will be drafted, along with journal articles, with the thesis to be submitted in November 2011.

Projected Key Outcomes

Recommendations to decrease potential negative health impacts to 2030 will be produced with the communities in the region as the intended audience. Recommendations to enhance positive health impacts will also be produced with the same audience. Health risks to the area will be rated using a Health Risk Matrix, which can be used as a guide to prioritising health action in the region.