Dr Ana Bonell
I am an academic clinician with a sound understanding of clinical medicine, physiology, maternal health and epidemiology. I work mainly on the nexus between climate change and maternal and child health.
Currently my research broadly spans three areas within climate and health:
1. Direct health impacts of heat and climate change on maternal and child health
2. Direct health impacts of heat on vulnerable adult populations in West Africa
3. Development and evaluation of co-designed sustainable interventions to reduce the health risk of heat in vulnerable populations in LMICs.
I teach on the health impacts of climate change on several modules within different Masters programs within LSHTM and will be teaching on the new Masters in Climate Change and Planetary Health which will begin in Sept 2023.
Heat in pregnancy
My Wellcome funded PhD was focused on climate change, maternal health and birth outcomes in The Gambia. I explored how environmental heat affects maternal and fetal physiology in subsistence farmers - a group particularly at risk of the many impacts of climate change. I am co-PI on a Wellcome funded 4 year project (2023-2027) to further understand the mechanistic pathways associated with poor birth outcomes in both acute and chronic heat stress exposure.
Climate change impacts in infants, children and youth
I have several projects in this area. Utilising the wealth of previous research in the MRC, and my expertise in environmental epidemiology I have explored the impacts of heat on growth faltering in the first 1000 days of life. I am also a member of the Cities, Children and Climate team, where we aim to understand and communicate young peoples views on their cities, climate change, air pollution and heat and drive policy change through modeling the health benefits of decarbonisation policy on child health. I have also led several engagement projects in schools in The Gambia to understand and learn from Gambian youth on what climate change means to them and how they would like to see things change.
Heat in adults
I am the in-country lead investigator for a Swiss National Science Foundation grant exploring the health impacts of humid heat in Central River Region of The Gambia. This study will give insight into the physiological strain acclimatised individuals experience as part of their daily lives and how this impacts their health and well-being. I am also a co-investigator on a Medical Research Foundation project exploring the impact of heat, air pollution and potential mitigating effect of greenspace on adults in four cities in Senegal.
I am a co-investigator on a Wellcome funded project to evaluate the health impacts of a series of heat alleviation bundles in Pakistan. The interventions in this cluster randomised controlled trial will be determined based on co-design workshops following in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders, experts, government officials, resident groups and local NGOs.