Lyda Hill research affiliate recognized for climate work

Mary Hayden, Ph.D. and Research Professor at Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, is having her work recognized through both a recent appointment to the Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS) at the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and invitation to the White House for a climate change discussion with the rollout of the 5th National Climate Assessment. The White House discussion took place on Nov. 14 and focused on highlighting the regional and sectoral impacts of climate change, along with how scientific information is informing climate risk management nationwide.

Hayden’s research focuses on several topics in the range of climate-related illnesses and how they relate to human behavioral elements. Alongside her research work, she’s an affiliate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and adjunct faculty member at the Colorado School of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. in Health and Behavioral Sciences from CU Denver, M.A. in geography from CU Boulder, a B.A. equivalent degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a B.A. in German from Metropolitan State College, Denver.

“Most ​of ​my ​work ​has ​been ​on ​environmental ​health ​and, ​​in ​the ​U.S., ​I’ve ​focused ​a ​lot ​of ​my ​work ​on ​extreme ​heat ​and how ​under-resourced ​and ​underserved ​populations ​are ​responding ​to ​and ​are ​affected ​by it, ​and ​trying ​to ​determine ​ways ​in ​which ​we ​can ​work with communities to reduce the burden,” said Hayden. “I ​also work on ​mosquito-borne ​diseases – my ​dissertation ​research was ​on ​the ​dengue ​fever along ​the ​U.S. ​Mexico ​border.”

The three-year appointment to the NASEM board has Hayden participating in board meetings and workshops.

“BECS looks at how ​environmental ​change ​is ​affecting ​society, and ​it’s ​​an ​important ​component ​of ​this,” explained Hayden. “From my perspective, I hope to contribute as a health person because that’s where my interests lie and health is critical to environmental issues that need to be addressed.”

“Once ​we ​determine ​what ​kind ​of ​behavior ​is ​taking ​place ​in a specific situation, ​then we ask what ​we can ​do ​​at ​a ​community ​level,” Hayden added. “The idea is to work from the bottom up to look at what people in that community are willing and able to do and what solutions they would embrace and be capable of sustaining.”

BECS is responsible for various National Research Council (NRC) programs in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Earth Sciences and Environment and Environmental Studies, collaborates with other NRC boards and committees to support the integration of the contributions of the social sciences with other sciences and technologies, provides space for researchers both nationwide and international to communicate and connect with each other, assimilates social and behavioral science research into environmental science and policy and much more.

“I’m ​really looking forward to being on the board,” Hayden said. “​Many of the board members have ​anthropology ​backgrounds, but there are also epidemiologists and ​​people who ​do ​a ​variety ​of work, ​from ​water ​issues ​to ​indigenous ​peoples ​to ​climate ​change ​and ​society. ​I ​think ​it’s ​going ​to ​be ​a ​huge ​learning ​experience ​for ​me and ​I’m ​​excited ​to ​be ​able ​to ​interact ​with ​all ​these ​experts.”

Read more about Hayden and her work online.

About the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience at UCCS

The Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience at UCCS is a research institute focused on advancing human resilience to adversity by designing evidence-based solutions through interdisciplinary research, healing therapies, and community training and empowerment. Through scientific discovery and strength-based innovation, the Institute empowers individuals and communities to build resilience and heal from trauma. Learn more about the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience at UCCS.