Arbovirus Monitoring and Prediction (ArboMAP) System

West Nile virus (WNV) is a virus transmitted by infected Culex spp that can produce asymptomatic infections and neuroinvasive disease in humans and selected animals. According to the World Health Organization, WNV cases have been reported across Africa, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and West Asia. In order to address this global health challenge, integrated vector management has traditionally provided a decision-making framework to coordinate vector control strategies, health promotion activities, and capacity building. Moving forward, innovative data and technology, such as the use of Earth observations, can complement current fieldwork strategies related to integrated vector management.

In the United States, the Northern Great Plains is a high-risk geographic region for WNV transmission. Of the 50 states, South Dakota has the highest reported long-term incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease. As part of a NASA Health and Air Quality Applications project, Michael Wimberly (University of Oklahoma) and his team aimed to develop a WNV early warning system in South Dakota. Using data from Land Data Assimilation Systems (NLDAS) daily weather, long-range weather forecasts, mosquito infections, and human WNV cases, his team developed computer code for the Arbovirus Monitoring and Prediction (ArboMAP) system. ArboMAP combines meteorological data access via Google Earth Engine with modeling and automated report generation tools implemented with the R programming software. Released in January 2019, this code is freely available via GitHub and is currently being applied for WNV forecasting in South Dakota and other neighboring states.

American Lung Association Launches Year of Air Pollution & Health 2019

The American Lung Association (ALA) has launched the “Year of Air Pollution & Health 2019” campaign, in efforts to increase public understanding and awareness of the harmful effects of air pollution on health. Each month highlights a different theme, including sources of air pollution, influence of environmental hazards, effects on community health, and mitigation strategies. To learn more about this ALA campaign, please download the annual calendar and visit the ALA website for additional resources, news stories, press releases, and blog articles.

Webinar Series on Air Pollution Mitigation (March-October 2019)

The Trinity College Dublin, supported by Cornell University, has organized a series of eight webinar sessions on “Air Pollution Mitigation using Passive Techniques in the Built Environment: Sharing International Best Practice”. Between March and October 2019, each monthly webinar session (60-90 minutes) will offer presentations by two international experts, followed by an open discussion period. This webinar series aims to unite global experts in air pollution and provide a forum to share research findings and best practices that mitigate air contamination in the built environment, including green infrastructure, solid barriers, and urban design. For more information, please visit the website for program details and registration.

GeoHealth Journal Recognized as Best New Journal in Science, Technology, and Medicine (2019 PROSE Award Winner)

In January 2019, the GeoHealth journal was recognized by the Association of American Publishers as the best new journal in science, technology, and medicine and received the 2019 PROSE Award for excellence in physical sciences and mathematics. These annual awards recognize scholarly publications in diverse books and journals across a total of 58 categories.

The GeoHealth journal, with Gabriel Filippelli as Editor-in-Chief, is supported by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and Wiley Publications. Their partnership, which was initiated in 2013, has continued to support the publication of scientific research across diverse disciplines, including the Earth and space sciences.

WHO Releases New Report: Air Pollution and Child Health

The World Health Organization has released a new report, Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air, one day prior to the start of the first WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health on October 30, 2018. This report describes the scientific evidence that demonstrates links between harmful levels of air pollution exposure and adverse health outcomes in children. Main topics include routes of exposure to air pollution, vulnerability and susceptibility of children, sources of air pollution, effects of air pollution on child health, and recommended actions for health professionals. To learn more about the effects of air pollution on children’s health, please visit the World Health Organization’s website for the infographics, video, and social media toolkit.

Using Earth Observation Data to Forecast Cholera Outbreaks in Yemen

The use of Earth observation data among interdisciplinary and multi-agency teams can significantly advance our scientific knowledge of our global ecosystem and support disease preparedness and response actions in disease epidemic or humanitarian efforts. With funding by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), one research team developed a forecasting tool with 92% accuracy to predict the high-risk geographic areas for Vibrio cholerae spread and distribution across Yemen in 2017. Led by Antar Jutla (West Virginia University), Rita Colwell (University of Maryland, College Park), and Anwar Huq (University of Maryland, College Park), the research team developed their model by analyzing Earth observation data for environmental conditions that influence V. cholerae proliferation such as the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments.

After the World Health Organization reported this occurrence as the world’s worst cholera outbreak, humanitarian agencies aimed to take forward steps in 2018. As such, international organizations, such as the U.K. Aid, the U.K. Met Office, and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), collaborated with these NASA-funded researchers and used the model to identify predicted cholera risk and inform decision-makers where to best allocate preparedness and support measures based on the model’s predictions.

Please visit the BBC News, Business Insider, NASA, UK Department for International Development, and West Virginia University websites to learn more about this initiative.

Blog Post: Citizens, Satellites, and the Future of Disease Monitoring

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Wilson Center collaborated to present the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission 2018 Vector-borne and Water-related Diseases Workshop, held at the Wilson Center, on May 17, 2018. This workshop showcased the use of Earth observation data to inform and predict vector-borne and water-related diseases. It also served as an educational and professional networking event, connecting Earth scientists and other practitioners and expanding the end-user community. In addition to presentations by keynote speakers, expert panelists, representing diverse specialties, formed three panels to present topics regarding “New and Emerging Research”, “Health, Data, and Complexity”, and “Citizen Science”. In efforts to disseminate the post-workshop summary, Alex Long (Wilson Center) prepared the blog post, Citizens, Satellites, and the Future of Disease Monitoring. Please visit the GPM Disease Initiative website to learn more about the agenda and view the presentation recordings.

Call for Nominations for NOAA David Johnson Award for Outstanding Innovative Use of Earth Observation Satellite Data (Deadline: September 30, 2018)

The National Space Club welcomes nominations for the NOAA David Johnson Award for Outstanding Innovative Earth Observation Satellite Data. Nominations may be submitted for professionals (age 40 or younger) who have developed a novel application of satellite data that can be used to examine and/or predict atmospheric, oceanic, or terrestrial conditions. The award nomination deadline is September 30, 2018. Please visit the award website for more information about the nomination process and previous award recipients.

GEO Health CoP featured on the GEO website

A blog post about a blog post – we are going META here at GEO Health CoP!

The GEO website recently featured a blog post on the newly revitalized GEO Health CoP. 

The blog introduces the GEO Community to the GEO Health CoP chair, Mr. John Haynes.  Mr. Haynes is the Program Manager of NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Program, and for the past 15 years, has applied his expertise in meteorology and remote sensing to address globally significant issues in aviation weather policy, public health, and environmental health.

The blog also shares GEO Health CoP’s recent events and achievements, including the group’s support for the addition of a new Community Activity to the GEO Work Programme entitled, ‘Earth Observations for Health,’ which has three focus areas: 1) weather and climate extremes; 2) water-related illnesses; and 3) vector-borne diseases.

The post, published on July 24, 2017, was authored by Dr. Shobhana Gupta, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NASA’s Heath and Air Quality Applied Sciences Program.

Hyperlink to the blog post: