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New Policy Pub sessions focus on climate, health and economic equality

(L to R): Assistant Professor of Geography Christopher Uejio, Associate Professor of Sociology Katrinell Davis, David Rasmussen, dean emeritus of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the James H. Gapinski Professor of Economics

Policy Pub, the popular public forum series at Backwoods Bistro, returns for three new sessions this semester with topics that address key issues affecting everyone’s lives.

The monthly sessions include brief, plain-language talks by faculty of the Florida State University College of Social Sciences and Public Policy followed by questions and discussion from the public.

The January session will feature a presentation by Assistant Professor of Geography Christopher Uejio, who will discuss “Public Health in the Face of Climate Change.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, at Backwoods Bistro, 401 E. Tennessee St.

Uejio is well versed on this topic. His research focuses on health effects related to climate change, including heat waves and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as the Zika virus, and by water. He co-authored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework and frequently works with health departments to understand and adapt to climate change.

“This is a very real environmental crisis,” he said. “We want to look at ways to strengthen our institutions and infrastructure in order to help society withstand and recover from natural disasters as well as climate change.”

In 2016, Uejio received a $1 million grant to help county health departments across Florida assess potential environmental problems that would affect public health and develop action plans to combat these problems. In 2017, he published research drawing a link between the impact of climate change and untreated drinking water on the rate of gastrointestinal illness in children.

After the talk, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topic.

Policy Pubs take place in the relaxed atmosphere of Backwoods Bistro at the corner of Tennessee and Gadsden streets. Guests can enjoy food and drink from the menu while listening to and talking about the evening’s topic. Those interested are advised to come early for the best parking and seats in the room.

The series continues Feb. 20 with a presentation by Associate Professor of Sociology Katrinell Davis, “Could the Next Water Crisis be in Tallahassee?” Davis will discuss her work on the Flint water crisis and how this kind of disaster could happen in any of America’s cities.

The final session of this series March 20 features a talk by David Rasmussen, dean emeritus of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the James H. Gapinski Professor of Economics, who will present “Long-term Consequences of Economic Inequality.” The series will return in Fall 2018 for three more monthly sessions.

For more information about the Policy Pub series, call (850) 644-6284 or visit coss.fsu.edu.