The World Food Prize Foundation

Highlights from the 2015 Iowa Hunger Summit

Health and Global Change

Speaker Dr.Yogesh Shah - Associate Dean of Global Health, Des Moines University
Schedule Laying the Foundation (10/13/2015 9:00 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.)

Iowans are experiencing human health effects of climate change, including those associated with extreme weather events, higher exposures to air and water pollutants, new infectious disease vectors and increased mental health challenges. Dr. Shah will discuss the health impacts on Iowans from climate change.

Extreme events are increasing in frequency and severity. Higher humidity and increased nighttime temperatures are making it harder to recover from daytime heat stress. Repeated heavy rain events cause increased exposures to toxic chemicals and raw sewage that are mobilized and spread by flood waters. Higher water temperatures and high nutrient levels create dangerous cyanobacterial blooms.

Exposures to environmental allergens are increasing as pollen production has increased with higher temperature and CO2 and an expanded growing season. Ground level ozone and fine particulates made worse by urban heat islands increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke, especially in aging adults. Infectious diseases are moving northward as their vectors move, live longer and expand their range.

Organized by Dr. Yogesh Shah and Des Moines University.

About Dr.Yogesh Shah:

Dr. Shah is the Associate Dean of Global Health at Des Moines University. He began serving in this position in July, 2007.

Dr. Shah’s expertise is in geriatrics and the health effects of climate change on the human population. His passion is to improve the health of people around the world. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in March, 2013 to develop a palliative care curriculum in Rwanda.

Dr. Shah has been instrumental in establishing the city of Des Moines as a member of the World Health Organization’s network of age friendly cities. He is the founding attending physician for Des Moines University’s Memory Clinic. He is Medical Advisor for American Red Cross –Iowa State Fair first Aid Stations. He has been moderator and speaker at Iowa Hunger Summit.

Dr. Shah has led the creation of two consortiums; the Heartland Global Health Consortium (HGHC) and the Heartland Climate and Health Consortium (HCHC). The HGHC is a collaboration of Iowa educational institutions that are leaders in promoting opportunities to inspire and equip students to become leaders in global public health.  The HCHC works toward educating Iowans on the effect of climate change on nutrition and human health. Dr. Shah has been invited to speak at the White House task force on climate change and be a part of the first ever World Health Organization conference in Geneva on climate and health. He is one of the lead authors for Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans. 

Dr. Shah received his degree in medicine from Bombay University in India. He completed his residency in Family Medicine with the Mercy Mayo Residency Program and his Geriatric Fellowship from the Mayo Clinic. He is triple-board-certified in family medicine, geriatrics and hospice and palliative care. Dr. Shah holds a Masters in Public Health from Des Moines University.

Dr. Shah has received numerous awards for his work in aging and dementia and has served as the Commissioner on Iowa Department of Aging and as a board member on the Iowa Medical Examiners. He has received the Passport to Prosperity Award, which honors individuals who immigrated to the state of Iowa and have contributed significantly to the community.

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