Climatic Change

, Volume 137, Issue 3–4, pp 455–466 | Cite as

Assessing the health effects of climate change in Alaska with community-based surveillance

  • David L. Driscoll
  • Erica Mitchell
  • Rebecca Barker
  • Janet M. Johnston
  • Sue Renes


The environmental effects of climate change are greatest in the northern latitudes. There is a need for epidemiological investigations to assess the health impacts of climate change on the health of residents of the circumpolar north. This study employed a participatory, community-based surveillance system to collect repeated observations of environmental conditions and syndromic health outcomes in sentinel communities across three ecologically distinct regions of Alaska. The study revealed that unintentional injury was significantly more likely in months when respondents reported unseasonable environmental conditions, and particularly so when they changed travel plans as a consequence of those conditions. The study also found that incidence of respiratory syndromes, such as pollen allergies and asthma, were significantly higher during months when unseasonable environmental conditions were observed. We conclude that unseasonable environmental conditions likely associated with climate change are having adverse effects on the health of circumpolar northern populations.


Generalize Estimate Equation Adverse Health Outcome Pollen Allergy Travel Plan Participatory Surveillance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1687_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (232 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 232 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Driscoll
    • 1
  • Erica Mitchell
    • 1
  • Rebecca Barker
    • 1
  • Janet M. Johnston
    • 1
  • Sue Renes
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Circumpolar Health StudiesUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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