Measuring environmental and disease vulnerability in urban slums


EPACC was conceived to generate more empirical evidence on the relationship between environmental pollution and poor climate conditions, particularly among older adults. It comprises two components, with EPACC 1 focusing on Ghana and Mexico, and EPACC 2 focusing on Canada. This project takes a transdisciplinary approach to 1) understanding the effects of exposure to ambient air pollution on the health of older adults; 2) assessing how exposure to extreme climatic conditions, such as temperature, affects the health of older adults and 3) examining the interaction effect of exposure to ambient air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, NO, SO2, and CO2), and climate change, on the health of older adults. Health is measured through five domains: visual impairment, cognitive impairment, psychosocial wellbeing, functional disability, and cardiometabolic and respiratory disease. Within each domain, two outcomes each are being measured. This study combines geospatial and longitudinal data with advanced statistical modeling to understand the interaction between environmental pollution, variations in climatic conditions, and the health of older adults.


Click here to read more about EPACC.

Environmental Pollution, Climatic Conditions and Health Effects (EPACC)




Resource insecurity, health and sustainable livelihoods

Spanning multiple countries in the Global South, the lab’s resource insecurity theme ties together diverse indicators of resource insecurity to better understand how health outcomes manifest among women, infants and children. Projects implemented under this theme seek to examine the prevalence of food, energy, water and housing security. Projects aim to explore people’s lived experiences of resource insecurity, develop, evaluate and validate resource insecurity scales and to explore possible interactions between resource insecurity and disease, nutrition and psychosocial outcomes. Project sites include Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya and Colombia. Click here to read more about this theme and related studies.





Scale development and the measurement of health indicators

This research contribution has a methodological significance and serves as the golden thread that ties together the development of scales for measuring behaviors, attitudes, lived experiences, and hypothetical scenarios that facilitates the assessment of health and health disparities among vulnerable populations. As science advances and novel research questions are put forth, new scales become necessary. The project has so far developed multiple scales published in CitiesMaternal & Child Nutrition, BMC pregnancy and Childbirth, and PLoS ONE.


Ongoing scale development projects include an Arabic language version of the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale; Postpartum Childcare Stress Checklist; and Postpartum Partner Support Scale. This research is possible through collaborations with faculty in the United Arab Emirates and Canada. We are in the initial stages of developing a new scale on Social Support for Refugees in Resettlement





Social inequalities in health

Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives from sociology and global health, this research stream focuses on understanding the multiplicity and intersectionality of factors that influence social inequalities in health for underserved populations. Projects under this stream include Retooling Black Anxiety and Exploring the Connections Between Youth Civic Participation and Youth Identity (ECYP-YI). 


Click here to read more about this theme. 

This theme focuses on measuring environmental and disease vulnerability (ENDIV) in urban slums and its associated health effects. ENDIV is a research area vital to the health and sustainable livelihood of WIC because of 1) diarrheal diseases associated with contaminated media (e.g. water) and overcrowded households; 2) lower respiratory and ischemic heart diseases as a result of poor indoor air quality and housing conditions; 3) an increase in noncommunicable diseases due to the lack of healthcare facilities and well trained health professionals; 4) exposure to food borne pathogens and child malnutrition due to inadequate sanitation; 5) the increase in economic burden due to increased medical costs and decreased wages as a result of frequent illness; 6) the physical and psychological burden associated with social exclusion and/or being assaulted or raped at night; and 7) the risk of gender based violence due to slum clearances or evictions and social upheavals.


This study is possible through collaborations with Dr. Frederick Armah at the University of Cape Coast and Dr. Reginald Quansah at the University of Ghana School of Public Health.