Trainee: Katherine White

September 11, 2023

Katherine is a third-year PhD student in the School of Population and Public Health, supervised by Dr. Michael Brauer. Her thesis project
aims to explore the role of the built environment and housing characteristics, on both indoor heat exposure and social isolation, to
better understand vulnerability to adverse heat-related health outcomes in older adults.

Heat-related morbidity and mortality is expected to be one of the greatest threats to human health due to climate change. Older adults
(65+), especially those who are socially isolated, are at increased risk for heat-related adverse health outcomes. Older adults tend to spend a greater proportion (80-90%) of time in their homes. However, much previous work has utilized outdoor air temperature to approximate indoor heat exposure, often due to necessity. Katherine is currently working on the first aim of this thesis project, utilizing citizen science collected indoor temperature measures and reported housing characteristics and linking to local environment data to explore which variables predict higher indoor heat based on outdoor temperatures. In the next year, she also plans to use data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging to examine the role of the built environment on social isolation. Her work will then ultimately examine how these factors contribute to adverse heat-related health outcomes in older adults in BC.

Katherine has been selected as one of ten Climate Solution Research Collection Solutions Scholars for the 2023-2024 academic year. This project, supervised by Drs. Michael Brauer and Liv Yoon, will supplement her thesis work by examining barriers older adults in Metro Vancouver face in
adapting to high heat exposure.

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