Kelsey Pieper Named Gulf Research Program Inaugural Early-Career Research Fellow for New Human Health and Community Resilience Track
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program named Northeastern University Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kelsey Pieper an inaugural member of their new Early-Career Research For New Human Health and Community Resilience track Fellowship. She is one of seven fellows selected for this honor. Fellows in this cohort will conduct research that advances health equity and explores social detriments to health in the US Gulf Coast states and Alaska.
The Gulf states face a variety of crises over the decades, from frequent hurricanes to man-made environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. These crises have been exacerbated by climate change and can cause adverse health outcomes.
Kelsey Pieper and her team focus their research on disparities in drinking water infrastructure and quality, with an emphasis on the effects on underserved and marginalized communities. Some of her current work examines unregulated water sources, such as private wells. “We want to understand the link between hurricanes, well water quality, and health outcomes. Water infrastructure plays a critical role in the health of a community,” said Pieper. “In the United States, we unfortunately see a wide range of water quality between communities, often linked to complex social, economic, and historical factors.”
According to the Gulf Research Program, “Fellows’ projects will explicitly focus on the root causes of individual and community health and well-being, known as social determinants of health (SDOH)… Fellows will apply a health equity lens and consider SDOH in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities. They will also work closely with communities to develop locally relevant resilience building strategies.”