Currently Funded Research

Title: Modernize Environmental Public Health Surveillance & Tracking, Reduce Health Disparities (aka Nebraska Tracking) 

Funding Agency: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Brief description: The CDC-funded National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program aims to integrate health and environmental data in user-friendly platforms to drive actions that improve community health. The Water, Climate and Health Program is teaming up with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to bring Nebraska Tracking to life.

Goal: Mobilize data to improve surveillance of environmental health issues, resulting in data-informed decisions for community health.  


Title: Identifying Public Health Applications of Satellite-derived Drought Indicators: Improved Monitoring for Respiratory Health

Funding Agency:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 

Brief description:  This project utilizes NASA air quality and drought monitoring data products to evaluate health outcomes associated with drought events. This evaluation will help inform the development of public health tools and resources to help public health departments effectively prepare for and respond to drought and its impact on human health. 

Goal:  Mitigate negative health outcomes associated with drought.


Title: Evaluation of Drought Indicators for Improved Decision-Making in Public Health and Emergency Preparedness: Reducing Drought’s Burden on Health.

Funding Agency: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Brief description: Health departments and healthcare professionals need reliable information to effectively prepare and warn constituents of pending natural and biological threats. This information is critical to develop hazard messaging or other response actions in a timely fashion. This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to improve public health understanding of drought early warning and planning to reduce negative health impacts of at-risk populations in the United States.

Goal: The proposed project will assist in the development of joint decision-making tools for public health stakeholders impacted by drought and improve connections between drought early warning and healthcare, leading to improvements in preparedness and climate resilience.


Title: Water, Climate and Health Program

Funding Agency: Claire M. Hubbard Foundation

Brief description: This funding is to develop work on addressing environmental health issues. The goal of this project is to bring together expertise and resources to form collaborations to address public health challenges related to water and climate, and to create solutions to these challenges.

Goal: This funding creates a state-of-the-art institution to address issues associated with climate change, water availability, and water quality.


Title: Expanding the Science and Preparedness Activities for Health Issues Associated with Drought

Funding Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Brief description: This funding is to continue and expand work from the project titled, “Drought-related health impacts: advancing the science for public health”. This work is to evaluate changes in mortality rates during drought periods. The other task of this work is to host regional drought and health workshops to scope public health response to drought events in the United States. 

Goal: This contract is to create a national strategic plan for the National Integrated Drought Information System on engaging with public health officials to respond to drought.


Title: Understanding the Relationship Between Drought and Suicide in all age groups in HHS Region 7 including Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri

Funding Agency: Innovation Fund, UNMC                  

Brief description: Drought can cause or worsen a variety of health conditions ranging from cardiovascular and respiratory issues to mental health disorders. Because drought is a slow-moving natural disaster, the psychological effects of living through such conditions are more subtle and last longer than other natural disasters. An analysis by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) showed that suicides in rural Nebraska counties spiked after the 2012 drought.

Goal: The goals of this project are to improve our understanding of the effects of drought exposure on suicide rates in Nebraska for all age groups and also to develop message maps targeted towards public health and healthcare providers that communicate the effects of drought on the suicide rate of vulnerable communities and at-risk populations.


Title: Exploring the Relationship between Heatwaves and Cardiovascular Problems in Omaha, Nebraska

Funding Agency: Innovation Fund, UNMC                  

Brief description: Heatwaves are prolonged periods of extreme temperatures that can cause health problems for different regions. About 6200 Americans on average are hospitalized each summer due to excessive heat, and those at highest risk are poor, uninsured, and elderly.

Goal: The goal of this project is to investigate the effects of extreme temperature on cardiovascular health outcomes among Nebraskans.


Title: Regional dust storm forecasting for Valley fever surveillance and highway accident prevention in the western United States

Funding Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Brief description: The proposed research aim is to apply NASA satellite products and novel data assimilation techniques to improve the nation’s operational dust storm forecasting system, so that the enhanced dust prediction can be integrated into three decision-support systems: air quality management, Valley fever surveillance, and highway safety.

Goal: This funding produced science applications for cutting edge satellite air quality monitoring products.