Severe coastal storms can lead to large, nearly immediate increases in the risk of illness and death. In addition to these acute effects, severe storms may lead to delayed adverse impacts on health that manifest over a period of weeks or months, particularly in vulnerable populations including children. For example, the damp conditions left behind by floodwaters may lead to mold growth and thus may pose a threat to respiratory health long after the storm has passed. However, the longer-term health consequences of severe storms have not been well characterized. The goal of the study is to characterize the respiratory health consequences of severe storms in children diagnosed with asthma and to provide clinicians and public health officials with information they can use to guide the response to these extreme weather events. Specifically, the researchers propose to use linked medical and pharmacy claims data from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse along with external meteorological data to estimate the causal effect of Atlantic-basin hurricanes and tropical storms (collectively, “severe storms”) on asthma exacerbation among children, 2000-2014. They will use a difference-in-differences design to compare changes in health care utilization indicative of symptom exacerbation among asthmatic children before versus after a storm in counties that were affected versus unaffected by that storm. Deliverables will include a project work plan and final narrative report. The researchers will also produce paper(s) suitable for publication and present findings at national research meetings and to other stakeholder audiences as appropriate, including policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels and other key stakeholders, as part of the deliverables for this grant.

Principal Investigators:

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Kate Weinberger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the School of Population and Public Health - University of British Columbia

Dr. Kate Weinberger is Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the School of Population and Public Heal... Read Bio

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Gregory Wellenius, Sc.D., M.Sc.

Professor of Environmental Health - Boston University School of Public Health

Dr. Gregory Wellenius is a Professor of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. Read Bio

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Nina Joyce, Ph.D.

PCOR/CER Scholar - Brown University

Nina Joyce received her doctorate in Epidemiology from Brown in 2015 and completed a 2-year post-doctoral fell... Read Bio


Grant: #76776
Grantee Institution: Brown University
Grant Period: 9/15/19 – 9/14/20