News Story

Student Challenge Creates Natural Disaster Plans for Indigenous Communities

Raging forest fires that engulf communities and massive flooding that wreaks havoc and destroys public infrastructure. These natural disasters are traumatizing and recovery is challenging; complications from these events can be especially detrimental to the mental and physical health of those living in rural and northern Indigenous communities. With the increasing fallout from climate change, preparing for natural disasters becomes all the more pressing.

To address this, 23 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines at Carleton University came together Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 to compete in the 2018 One HEALtH (Human Environment Animal Links to Health) Student Challenge, presenting comprehensive frameworks to work with communities to mitigate mental and physical health impacts of disasters.

Organized by the Canadian Health Adaptations, Innovations and Mobilization (CHAIM) Centre – in partnership with the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research and Carleton’s Discovery Centre – it was the second annual challenge. The One Health initiative aims to foster collaborations across multiple disciplines to address multi-faceted health issues at the local, national and global levels.

“The challenge and opportunity of a One Health approach is that it uses an integrated and holistic approach to a health issue, which is not usually taught as part of a medically-oriented curriculum,” said Prof. Kim Matheson of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the CHAIM Centre.

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