Public Release: 

Public health impact of climate change, poverty, disaster response and housing design

Reports in WHO-commissioned Journal of Urban Health supplement

New York Academy of Medicine

NEW YORK, May 21 -- Leading global experts provide insight into protecting public health and promoting health equity in urban settings in a supplement to the May/June 2007 issue of The New York Academy of Medicine's Journal of Urban Health. The 15 reports in the supplement were issued by the Knowledge Network on Urban Settings of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.

Highlights of the supplement, entitled "Achieving Health Equity in Urban Settings," include reports regarding the influence of climate change on health status, the post-disaster response in Indonesia, and improvements needed to the design of housing and shelter programs in developing countries. Experts from the WHO, Pan American Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and major research institutions including the Academy are among the authors.

"Achieving health equity in the urban setting requires action toward fairness and equity within and between countries. Engaging the people themselves, urban communities and multiple sectors in the urban development process is a must," explains Tord Kjellstrom, BMed, MEng, PhD, coauthor of the supplement's editorial. Kjellstrom is a professor at the National Institute of Public Health in Sweden and at the Health and Environment International Trust in New Zealand, and a visiting fellow with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health of the Australian National University.

The supplement's 15 papers were originally presented at a meeting of Knowledge Network on Urban Settings (KNUS) in November 2006 in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, which was attended by practitioners, policymakers, community-based organizations, researchers and WHO regional representatives. The WHO's Centre for Health Development, based in Kobe, Japan, the KNUS hub, is part of a larger effort to identify opportunities for WHO to improve action on social determinants of health. The core membership of KNUS consists of a dozen international experts, each from a different geographic region.

Below is a full table of contents for the Journal of Urban Health supplement.

  • "Urban Poverty is a Public Health Issue"
    Susan Mercado, Kirsten Havemann, Mojgan Sami, and Hiro Ueda

  • "Urban as Determinant of Health"
    David Vlahov, Nicholas Freudenberg, Fernando Proietti, Danielle Ompad, Andrew Quinn, Vijay Nandi, and Sandro Galea

  • "Emerging Disease Burdens and the Poor in Cities of the Developing World"
    Tim Campbell and Alana Campbell

  • "Climate Change and Health in Developing Country Cities"
    Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum and Carlos Corvalan

  • "Cities and Calamities: Learning from Post-disaster Response in Indonesia"
    Josef Leitmann

  • "Social Determinants of the Health of Urban Populations: Implications for Intervention"
    Danielle C. Ompad, Sandro Galea, Waleska T. Caiaffa, and David Vlahov

  • "Urbanisation and Slum Formation"
    Giok Ling Ooi and Kai Hong Phua

  • "Income and Health in Cities: The Messages from Stylized Facts"
    Shahid Yusuf, Kaoru Nabeshima, and Wei Ha

  • "The Design of Housing and Shelter Programs: The Social and Environmental Determinants of Inequalities"
    Shaaban Sheuya , Philippa Howden-Chapman, and Sheela Patel

  • "The Health Equity Dimensions of Urban Food Systems"
    Jane Dixon, Sharon Friel, Abiud M. Omwega, Kelly Donati, Cate Burns, and Rachel Carlisle

  • "The Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, TB and Vector-borne Diseases in Slums and Informal Settlements: Challenges, Opportunities and Insights"
    Annette David, Susan Mercado, Daniel Becker, Katia Edmundo and Frederick Mugisha

  • "Improving Health and Building Human Capital Through an Effective Primary Care System and Healthy Setting Approach"
    Albert Lee, Andrew Kiyu , Helia Molina Milman, and Jorge Jimenez

  • "Emerging Strategies for Healthy Urban Governance"
    Scott Burris, Trevor Hancock, Vivian Lin and Andre Herzog

  • "Healthy Governance/participatory Governance: Integrated Approaches to Address the Social Determinants of Health for Reducing Health Inequity"
    Francoise Barten, Diana Mitlin, Catherine Mulholland, Ana Hardoy, and Ruth Stern

  • "Social Capital and Health Urbanization in a Globalized World"
    Pat Pridmore, Liz Thomas, Kirsten Havemann, Jaime Sapag, and Lisa Wood

  • "Urban Environmental Health Hazards and Health Equity"
    Tord Kjellstrom, Sharon Friel, Jane Dixon, Carlos Corvalan, Eva Rehfuess, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Fiona Gore, and James Bartram


To see any of the full studies, please contact Kathryn Cervino at 212.822.7285 or (Academy-based authors are in bold).

About the Journal of Urban Health

The Journal of Urban Health is a bimonthly peer-reviewed publication of The New York Academy of Medicine and focuses on the emerging fields of urban health and epidemiology. The Journal addresses health issues such as substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, HIV, tuberculosis, and violence from both clinical and policy perspectives, filling a neglected niche in medical and health literature. Published since 1847, the Journal is edited by David Vlahov, PhD, Director of the Academy's Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies.

About The New York Academy of Medicine

Founded in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit institution whose mission is to enhance the health of the public. Our research, education, community engagement, and evidence-based advocacy seeks to improve the health of people living in cities, especially disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. The impact of these initiatives reaches into neighborhoods in New York City, across the country, and around the world. We work with community based organizations, academic institutions, corporations, the media, and government to catalyze and contribute to changes that promote health. Visit us online at

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