UCRH PhD student investigating the health impacts of fire smoke exposure in Australia

UCRH PhD student investigating the health impacts of fire smoke exposure in Australia

Josh Horsley has recently commenced his PhD research investigating the health impacts of fire smoke exposure in Australia, supervised by A/Prof Geoffrey Morgan and based at the University Centre for Rural Health. Smoke from fires, both planned and unplanned, is known to be a major contributor to the global burden of disease, primarily in the form of cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. When large amounts of smoke cover capital cities, such as Sydney in recent months, very large populations are exposed to these health risks.

The ultimate aim of this work is to produce online real-time forecasting tools for smoke exposure and the resulting health impacts. With high spatial and temporal resolution, these tools could support fire organisations and individual citizens to make decisions which lead to better population health outcomes. To develop these methods historical exposure to fire smoke will first be investigated along with the associated health and economic burdens.

Josh’s PhD is part of a larger project funded by the US Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP, http://www.firescience.gov/, Project ID: 14-1-04-9) in collaboration with NCSU, USEPA, UTas, CSIRO, and SLHD. Josh’s background is in statistics, in which he received a First Class Honours degree from UQ.


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