A conceptual model to assess stress-associated health effects of multiple ecosystem services degraded by disaster events in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere

Paul A. Sandifer, Landon C. Knapp, Tracy K. Collier, Amanda L. Jones, Robert Paul Juster, Christopher R. Kelble, Richard K. Kwok, John V. Miglarese, Lawrence A. Palinkas, Dwayne E. Porter, Geoffrey I. Scott, Lisa M. Smith, William C. Sullivan, Ariana E. Sutton-Grier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Few conceptual frameworks attempt to connect disaster-associated environmental injuries to impacts on ecosystem services (the benefits humans derive from nature) and thence to both psychological and physiological human health effects. To our knowledge, this study is one of the first, if not the first, to develop a detailed conceptual model of how degraded ecosystem services affect cumulative stress impacts on the health of individual humans and communities. Our comprehensive Disaster-Pressure State-Ecosystem Services-Response-Health model demonstrates that oil spills, hurricanes, and other disasters can change key ecosystem components resulting in reductions in individual and multiple ecosystem services that support people's livelihoods, health, and way of life. Further, the model elucidates how damage to ecosystem services produces acute, chronic, and cumulative stress in humans which increases risk of adverse psychological and physiological health outcomes. While developed and initially applied within the context of the Gulf of Mexico, it should work equally well in other geographies and for many disasters that cause impairment of ecosystem services. Use of this new tool will improve planning for responses to future disasters and help society more fully account for the costs and benefits of potential management responses. The model also can be used to help direct investments in improving response capabilities of the public health community, biomedical researchers, and environmental scientists. Finally, the model illustrates why the broad range of potential human health effects of disasters should receive equal attention to that accorded environmental damages in assessing restoration and recovery costs and time frames.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)17-36
    Number of pages20
    JournalGeoHealth
    Volume1
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

    Keywords

    • Gulf of Mexico
    • conceptual model
    • ecosystem services
    • environmental disasters
    • human health
    • stress and health problems

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Global and Planetary Change
    • Epidemiology
    • Water Science and Technology
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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