Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions will be held on the second day of the conference on Friday, September 6th. Some currently planned sessions include:
Rising to the Challenge: Scaling Freshwater Solutions 

Up to five billion people could experience some form of water shortage or scarcity by 2050 according to the United Nations’ latest water report. Insufficient access to clean fresh water or adequate sanitation affects our exposure to infectious disease, our ability to produce food, the health of ecosystems, and time and labor spent collecting water (mostly for women and girls). This session will start by quickly reviewing key underlying environmental and political drivers of water scarcity. Then, following short presentations by panelists, participants will break into groups to interactively discuss three components of scalable and sustainable solutions: engineering and technology-based approaches; “soft-path” strategies that include demand management and social, economic, and policy approaches; and nature-based solutions that integrate human and ecological water security challenges.

Led by Dr. Lisa Mandle, Stanford University; and Dr. Peter Gleick, the Pacific Institute
Speakers including Marta Echavarria, Ecodecisión; and Heather Cooley, the Pacific Institute
Engaging the World’s Youth

To engage young people in the critical issues of planetary health, we will need conventional, classroom-based methods and an array of “out of the box” approaches including multimedia storytelling, charismatic figures (voyagers, athletes, actors, musicians, etc.), our kitchens and cafeterias, and many others. These approaches, taken together, will be necessary in order to effectively engage younger students in understanding the complexity, scale, and urgency of planetary health challenges and the scope of possible solutions. Panelists will illuminate creative ways to revolutionize how we equip the rising generation to face a rapidly changing world.

Led by Dr. Naglaa El-Abbadi, Tufts University
Speakers including Dr. John Balbus, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Darrell Steely, Carmel Unified School District; and Melvine Otieno, University of Eldoret
Communities, Justice, and Living Systems: Connections for a Healthy and Thriving Future

Community involvement with, and commitment to, the living systems of which they are part is a powerful driver of change, and a source of connections that provide inspiration and momentum for a healthy, just and thriving future. Combined drivers of social and ecological change (from globalization and climate change, to deforestation and resource extraction) exacerbate existing health inequities, impacting those who already bear the brunt of existing local and global injustices. At the same time, frontline communities continue to find ways to connect and reflect their reciprocal relationship with, and stewardship of, the living systems that determine their health and their future, creating collective action with repercussions from local to global scales. This session will explore examples from communities who, fueled by the imperatives of social and ecological justice, have turned potential vulnerabilities into power by mobilizing collective action for health, ecosystems and society.

Led by Prof. Margot Parkes, University of Northern British Columbia
Speakers including Moses Chimbari and Emmanuela Shinta
Ecological Solutions: The Role of Disease Ecology in Designing Actionable Pathways to Reduce Human Infectious Disease and Protect Ecosystems

Human-induced changes in land cover or biological communities have altered human exposure to infectious diseases at many spatial scales. Furthermore, people threatened by poor health and poverty can be trapped into unsustainable extractive practices that harm ecosystems, creating a vicious cycle. To break this cycle, disease ecologists are seeking the mechanisms underlying these relationships, hoping to inform interventions that range from local demonstration projects to widespread and sustainable solutions. This session will explore these ecological solutions that address linked human infectious disease and environmental problems.

Led by Dr. Susanne Sokolow and Prof. Giulio DeLeo, Stanford University
Speakers including Dr. Sarah Zohdy, Auburn University; Prof. Hamish McCallum, Griffith University; and Dr. Skylar Hopkins, Virginia Tech
Putting Women at the Center of Planetary Health Solutions

Women’s health and empowerment should be at the center of planetary health solutions. Women and children tend to bear the brunt of many planetary health impacts and a focus on educating and empowering girls and women will help to address many planetary health challenges. This is true in the realm of sustainable food production and nutrition, indoor air quality, population growth, mental health effects, and managing the effects of displacement and conflict. This session will highlight the opportunity to put women at the center of planetary health solutions drawing on rich examples from different regions and dimensions of health.

Led by Prof. Ndola Prata, University of California Berkeley and Prof. David Lopez-Carr, University of California Santa Barbara
Speakers including Alisha Graves, Kristen Patterson, Clive Mutunga, Jackline Nakajubi, and Kai Carter.
Leadership, Influence, Power: Working with Policymakers to Advance Planetary Health

This breakout will explore diverse case examples across scales of governance (e.g., local, municipal, national, multilateral) of leveraging political tools (e.g., subsidies, taxes, new laws, trade agreements, protected areas) to advance planetary health. Through exploring successes and failures in these and other governance approaches, this breakout will leave the audience with a better understanding of the implementation challenges and opportunities of government action to mitigate environmentally-driven health impacts.

Led by Courtney Howard and Dr. Natalia Linou, United Nations Development Programme
Speakers including Christine Loh and Tasso Azevedo
Building a Planetary Health Report Card

This session will be a discussion-based, interactive forum designed to bring students together to brainstorm and collaborate on the idea of a Planetary Health Justice Report Card (PHJRC), modeled after the very successful White Coats 4 Black Lives “Racial Justice Report Card”. Our proposed student-published initiative aims to compare universities on the basis of discrete metrics related to areas such as planetary health curriculum, interdisciplinary research in health and the environment, university support for student initiatives in planetary health, and community outreach. The intended outcome of this session is to allow students to share their successes and difficulties in planetary health engagement at their home campuses to produce a standardized and reproducible Planetary Health Report Card that students can use to grade and compare their schools with the purpose of increasing planetary health awareness and accountability.

Led by Bennett Kissel, University of California San Francisco
Compound Disaster Risks of Climate Change

Extreme weather and climate events, including heatwaves, floods, cyclones, and droughts, are increasing occurring jointly or in short succession because of climate change. These events such can trigger the breakdown of critical services such as energy, transport, water, and healthcare that are critical to prepare for and respond to these events. Facing a future of compound extremes calls for a better understanding of social and environmental vulnerabilities, and identifying opportunities to better predict and prepare for compound extremes. This session will start with an expert panel reviewing the key drivers and dimensions of compound extreme events driven by climate change. Break out groups will then explore what questions we need to ask to generate actionable knowledge to better understand, forecast, and manage the social and environmental dimensions of compound extreme events.

Dr. Joy Shumake-Guillemot, WHO/WMO Joint Office Climate and Health; and Dr. Kristie L. Ebi, University of Washington


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