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Summit County Health to discuss how climate change impacts physical and mental health

The second in the series will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Summit County Health Dept.
The second in the series will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The Summit County Health Department’s second event in its speaker series will answer the question, “What does climate change have to do with public health?”

The speaker series was designed to elevate public health as a critical consideration of climate change. The second session is Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the National Ability Center’s, The Hub.

Summit County Health Department Director Dr. Phil Bondurant says the panel will examine how climate change can impact our physical and mental health.

“Most understand climate change and the impacts and effects it has on our environment in terms of wildfires, increased flooding, extreme weather conditions, those types of things,” Bondurant said. “But we rarely connect how those events affect our physical and mental health. And so, with some of the experts that we brought in from here in the state of Utah, we're able to draw the connection between changes in our climate, and what we can expect or what we've already seen happen with individuals here in Summit County specifically.”

The panelists include a PhD candidate and clinician-in-training Jeremy Bekker. His research is focused on sustainable well-being, eco-anxiety and student mental health. Joining him will be a professor in the division of public health at the University of Utah, Kimberly Shoaf, whose research and teaching has focused on the health impacts of disasters as well as preparedness of the health sector for public health emergencies and disasters.

Nataunya Kay is a creative arts psychiatric program specialist with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute who specializes in creativity and mindfulness to help manage difficult emotions.

Alexis Pearl Lee, a graduate of Park City High School and alumni of Leadership Park City will moderate the panel. She works as the director of Environmental and Social Sustainability for University of Utah Health.

Bondurant says the event will feature information about services available in Summit County.

“From 5:30 to 6, we're going to have a tabling event where resources specific to Summit County around mental health and physical health are going to be available for those that are in attendance,” he said. “We're able to take Aaron Newman's group, our behavioral health director at the health department, and bring in some of his resources to help people really begin to build that resilience in that kind of background or fortitude. I guess as we see these changes happen in the coming years, that people can be prepared for that.”

Each of the panelists will be giving short presentations prior to the discussion, starting at 6 p.m.

The evening is free and open to all, but registration is requested.