Faculty Member Awarded NASA Grant to Study Environmental Health Impacts

Chapman University faculty member Jason Douglas was awarded a grant from NASA to study the public health impacts of higher temperatures and air pollution in southeast Los Angeles and services that would promote environmental equity there.

Douglas, assistant professor of public health in Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, was recently awarded the grant totaling almost $250,000 for his two-year project “Communities for a Better Environment: Triangulating NASA Data and Participatory GIS with Local Organizing to Advance Environmental Justice in Los Angeles.”

Douglas is partnering with Communities for a Better Environment, a California-based environmental justice organization that helps people who live in polluted urban areas advocate for green technology and infrastructure.

The project will enlist community members in researching public health impacts of urban heat islands and air pollution, and how equitable access to parks, open spaces, and treetop canopies can counter those impacts.

Urban heat islands are urban areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas.

Douglas wrote in his proposal summary that southeast Los Angeles “is a large, underserved, environmental justice community of color that bears an uneven burden of urban heat islands and mobile and stationary sources of air pollution.”