9.3 Expanding the Health Coverage in AMS DataStreme Courses

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 4:30 PM
Room 353 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Robert S. Weinbeck, AMS, Washington, DC; and J. A. Brey, I. W. Geer, K. A. Nugnes, and A. E. Stimach

From rising sea levels to human health, climate change has far reaching impacts. However, quantifying the impact to human health is extremely complicated due to the number of variables that relate to human health and the organisms that influence it. One conclusion that can be stated with greater confidence is that there has been increased heat-related mortality and decreased cold-related mortality in some regions of the world as a result of global warming. How will people and cities adapt to these temperature changes or to new/different diseases caused by local changes in rainfall? Our Changing Climate, the textbook used in DataStreme Earth's Climate System (ECS), dives into this complicated topic.

DataStreme ECS is an online, professional development course for in-service K-12 teachers. Each fall and spring semester, the course is offered by Local Implementation Teams (LITs) across the country in coordination with DataStreme Central, a team of AMS Education Program scientists and educators who develop instructional materials, provide logistical support to the LITs, and administer the project. The 3-member LITs mentor about 8 teachers and in some instances an emergency manager, per semester through the course. Teachers may receive 3 tuition-free graduate credits through State University of New York's (SUNY) The College at Brockport upon successful completion of the course and construction of a Plan of Action for educational peer-training.

DataStreme ECS explores the fundamental science of Earth's climate system and addresses the societal and health impacts relevant to today's learner. For example, vector-borne diseases and the increase in yellow fever cases due to population movements and climate change are discussed in Our Changing Climate. Another topic of particular interest in the U.S. is that of Lyme disease. The course utilizes resources from respected organizations, such as the IPCC, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the World Health Organization.

Our Changing Climate is an ebook that can be read anywhere using a phone, tablet, or PC. Within each chapter are expandable ‘Topics In Depth,' which allow the user to view dynamic information and engage with more advanced topics. For example, Topic In Depth 11.1 focuses on recent research concluding that cholera is a water-borne disease and therefore affected by sea-surface temperatures. Another Topic In Depth links to a Journal of Experimental Biology article on the prediction of how human and other organisms' immune systems will respond to climate change.

A ‘For Further Exploration' essay at the end of each chapter addresses specific topics that complement a concept covered in the chapter. For example, in Chapter 11, Dr. Scott Sheridan, an internationally renowned bioclimatologist, describes the role climate change may have in heat wave mortality.

AMS is working to expand health topics into its other DataStreme courses – DataStreme Atmosphere and Ocean. DataStreme Atmosphere focuses on the study of the atmospheric environment through the use of near real-time weather data and DataStreme Ocean explores the ocean in the Earth system with special emphasis on flows of energy and water, and interactions between the ocean and other components of the Earth system. In fall 2015, AMS also began implementing NOAA's newly released Climate Resilience Toolkit to further bolster all three DataStreme courses.

Nearly 20,000 K-12 teachers have successfully completed a DataStreme course, impacting more than a million students. The AMS Education Program is excited to continue to educate teachers on the link between climate change and health and introduce more health content into its other DataStreme courses.

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