Description
Webnews Capacity building: modelling tools for climate and public health

A number of diseases with high socio-economic impacts have significant climatic and environmental drivers.  Although there is a wealth of environmental remote sensing data freely available via the internet, these data are not always fully exploited to inform public health decision-making. To address this gap, a two-week training activity entitled “Modelling tools and capacity building for climate and public health” took place at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Itaboraí Palace in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20-31 July 215. The workshop was sponsored the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS, WMO), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and the Science Without Borders Brazilian program, via CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel). The aim of the workshop was to introduce several tools that can be used to access, visualise and analyse climate and health datasets, and to show how such data can be extracted and converted into a format suitable to devise public health early warning systems.

The course was attended by around 30 PhD students, early career scientists and public health practitioners from across the globe, including Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mozambique, Singapore, France and Australia. Participants were given a range of lectures from expert in the field of climate services, health risk management, seasonal climate forecasting; remote sensing, environmental epidemiology and space-time statistical modelling.  Practical session were delivered using the free statistical software R and OpenBUGS, QGIS and the IRI Data Library. 

The participants brought along scientific questions and data, relevant to their own research to analyse during the course. Small teams were formed to develop collaborative projects, which were presented at the end of the course. A diverse range of projects emerged, with topics ranging from modelling the effect of temperature on influenza and non-communicable disease in Latin America cities, mapping the spatial distribution of malaria in Mozambique and analysing the spatio-temporal distribution of Chagas disease vectors in Colombia, to assessing the role of El-Niño Southern Oscillation on leptospirosis outbreaks in Argentina and dengue outbreaks in some Asian and South American cities.   

During the course, participants share photos and experiences on twitter, using the hashtag #climatehealthBrazil. After completion of the course, a selection of participants were subsequently invited to attend a follow-up activity at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, sponsored by CAPES, to further develop the group projects and deepen their knowledge of the modelling techniques that were introduced during the initial training activity. Further, all groups were invited to prepare manuscripts for submission to the Brazilian journal 'Public Health Reports', to disseminate promising results from the collaborative group projects. To facilitate ongoing collaboration between the participants and lecturers, an online team communication platform has been created, hosted by slack, to exchange ideas, questions, code and announcements about future climate and health events.  

Scientific organizers: Marilia Sá Carvalho, Christovam Barcellos (FIOCRUZ), Pietro Ceccato (IRI), Rachel Lowe (IC3)
ICTP local organizer: Adrian Tompkins
Invited lecturers: Trevor C. Bailey (University of Exeter), Caio A. S. Coelho (CPTEC/INPE)

Figure 1: End-of-course group photo outside the Itaboraí Place, Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Go to day
  • Monday, 20 July 2015
    • 08:00 - 17:00
      • 08:00 Bus transfer Rio de Janeiro to Petropolis 2h0' ( )
      • 10:00 Welcome and Introduction to Course 25' ( Palacio Itaboraí – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Petrópolis )
        Speakers: Marilia Sa' Carvalho (PROCC - FIOCRUZ Rio de Janeiro, Brasil), Rachel Lowe (Institut Catala de Ciencies del Clima (IC3), Barcelona, Spain)
      • 10:30 Climate Services and Health Risk Management 1h0' ( Palacio Itaboraí – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Petrópolis )
        Speaker: Rachel Lowe (Institut Catala de Ciencies del Clima (IC3), Barcelona, Spain)
      • 11:30 Introduction to Remote Sensing/IRI Library 45' ( )
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato (IRI Columbia University, NY, USA)
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Introduction to Health/GIS/Observatory 45'
        Speaker: Christovam Barcellos (Fiocruz, Brazil)
      • 14:15 Introduction to Statistical Modeling 45'
        Speakers: Marilia Sa' Carvalho (PROCC-FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil), Trevor Bailey (Univ. of Exeter, U.K.)
      • 15:00 Malaria in Botswana - Introduction to R practical 45'
        Speaker: Rachel Lowe (IC3, Spain)
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Introduction to R practical 1h0'
        Speaker: Rachel Lowe (IC3, Spain)
  • Tuesday, 21 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      Location: Palacio Itaboraí – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Petrópolis
      • 09:00 Introduction to environmental epidemiology modeling 45'
        Speaker: Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
      • 09:45 Introduction to time modeling 1h0'
        Speaker: Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
      • 10:45 R practical 1h30'
        Speaker: Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Introduction to space modeling 45'
        Speakers: Trevor Bailey (Univ. Exeter, UK), Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
      • 14:15 R practical 1h30'
        Speakers: Trevor Bailey (Univ. Exeter, UK), Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 R practical 1h0'
        Speakers: Trevor Bailey (Univ. Exeter, UK), Marilia Sa' Carvalho (Fiocruz, Brasil)
  • Wednesday, 22 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Space and space-time modeling 1h45' ( Rio de Janeiro - Brazil )
        Speaker: Trevor Bailey
      • 10:45 R Practical 1h30'
        Speaker: Trevor Bailey
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
        Get into project groups
      • 13:30 Introduction to GIS and data management 45'
        Speaker: Christovam Barcellos
      • 14:15 GIS Practical 1h30'
        Speaker: Christovam Barcellos
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Space and space-time modeling 1h0'
        Speaker: Trevor Bailey
  • Thursday, 23 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      Location: Palacio Itaboraí – Fundação Oswaldo Cruz – Petrópolis
      • 09:00 Remote sensing as a tool to manage environmental, climate, and epidemiological data 45'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 09:45 Overview IRI Data Library 45'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 10:30 Practical Session: IRI Data Library 1h45'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Introduction to Ingrid language for the IRI Data Library/practicals 2h15'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Practical Session: Remote Sensing with IRI Data Library 1h0'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
  • Friday, 24 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Manipulating temporal resolution of environmental datasets 2h30'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 11:30 Discussion of student projects 45'
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Climate explorer practical 45'
        Speaker: Rachel Lowe
      • 14:15 Practical Session: Advanced data retrieval from IRI Data Library 1h30'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Practical Session: data extraction for student projects 1h0'
  • Monday, 27 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Interpretation of IRI Data Library Practical sessions 3h15'
        Speaker: Pietro Ceccato
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Introduction to seasonal climate forecasting 1h30'
        Speaker: Caio Coelho (Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos, CPTEC/INPE, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
      • 15:00 EUROBRISA: An empirical-dynamical forecasting system for South America 45'
        Speaker: Caio Coelho
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 The role of climate in quantifying spatio-temporal health risk factors 1h0'
        Speaker: Rachel Lowe
  • Tuesday, 28 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Challenges in climate and health studies 45'
        Speakers: Christovam Barcellos, Antonio Miguel Vieira Monteiro (National Institute for Space Research-INPE, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil)
      • 09:45 Participant projects 2h30'
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Participant projects 2h15'
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Participant projects 1h0'
  • Wednesday, 29 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Participant projects 3h15'
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Participant projects 2h15'
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Participant project progress presentations 1h0'
  • Thursday, 30 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 17:00
      • 09:00 Brazilian experiences in climate and land use analysis 45'
        Speaker: Antonio Miguel Vieira Monteiro
      • 09:45 Participant projects 2h30'
      • 12:15 Lunch break 1h15'
      • 13:30 Participant final presentations 2h15'
      • 15:45 Coffee break 15'
      • 16:00 Participant final presentations 1h0'
  • Friday, 31 July 2015
    • 09:00 - 15:00
      • 09:00 Participant final presentations 3h0'
      • 12:00 Coffee break 1h0'
      • 13:00 Bus to Rio de Janeiro 2h0'