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New Issues in Mental Health and Wildland Urban Interface Fires

Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health and director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, presented his research on new issues in mental health and fires in the Wildland Urban Interface (WIU), defined as the area where wildfires pose the greatest risk to people, at a July 28 symposium sponsored by the University of California

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Date: 
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
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(note: Eisenman presentation begins at 2:31:30)

Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health and director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, presented his research on new issues in mental health and fires in the Wildland Urban Interface (WIU), defined as the area where wildfires pose the greatest risk to people, at a July 28 symposium sponsored by the University of California.

Eisenman was introduced at the event by Dr. Roger Wakimoto, UCLA vice chancellor for research, and spoke as part of a panel on "WUI Fire Impacts to Human Health and the Environment," where Eisenman presented with Dr. John Balmes, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley; Dr. Michelle Newcomer, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; and Dr. Allison Aiken, of the Los Alamos National Lab.

"David studies community resilience to disaster and trauma(-related) mental health," Wakimoto said. "He examines interactions of social and built environment predictors of heat wave mortality and morbidity, behavioral responses to wireless emergency alerts, social cohesion and health, and wildfires and mental health, and he will talk about that last part - mental health and wildfires."

Eisenman's presentation included research he led that resulted in a report - Mental Health Effects Of Wildfire Smoke, Solastalgia, and Non-Traditional Firefighters - requested by the National Academy of Sciences, and supported by the National Academy of Medicine.

"In 2019, the National Academy of Sciences held a workshop on the public health implications of the California wildfires, where it was noted that the mental health consequences of wildfires are underappreciated and under-researched," Eisenman said. "The academies asked me to select some mental health topics for systematic review: now I am going to talk about two of them, one is wildfire smoke and two is community residents who stay behind to fight the wildfires."

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