CCHRME Workshop


Climate Change and Health in Rural Mountain Environments: A Collaborative Workshop

Sponsors: The Department of Geography & Planning; the Blue Cross NC Institute for Health & Human Services; the Research Institute for Environment, Energy, & Economics; and the University Forum Lecture Series.

Facilitators: Brian Byrd (Western Carolina University), Kathie Dello (North Carolina State University), Sara Duncan (Western Carolina University), Karen Fletcher (Appalachian State University), Adam Hege (Appalachian State University), & Maggie Sugg (Appalachian State University)

Date: Friday, April 8th, 2022, 10 AM - 4 PM

Location: Price Lake (Rooms 201A-B), Plemmons Student Union (263 Locust St, Boone, NC 28608)

Rationale: The southern Appalachian Mountains are a complex region undergoing rapid changes due to climate change (e.g., more flooding, higher temperatures) and socioeconomic factors (e.g., economic growth) that produce an array of interactions that elevates the health disparities of its population. To date, climate-health research has focused on urban and/or coastal communities. This workshop will identify research needs and priorities for our region at the intersection of climate and health for rural mountain environments.

The objectives of this workshop include the following:

  • Convene researchers focused on the impacts of climate change and health in rural mountain environments.
  • Identify and prioritize research needs at the intersection of climate, rural health, and mountain environments.
  • Identify other stakeholders, faculty, and researchers needed to tackle these challenges.

The products of this first workshop include the following:

  • A publication identifying the research needs at the intersection of climate and health in rural mountain environments.
  • Establish working groups for short-term research needs that include partnerships from across western North Carolina.
  • A planning grant that includes the facilitation of this research at Appalachian State and across other North Carolina locations.
  • Seeds for a Community of Practice, and platform for future workshops and collaborations.

The Shared Google Drive is available here.



Morning Climate and Health Presentations (10 AM - 12:30 PM):
All faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members, are invited to attend the lectures by our climatology and environmental health faculty. Registration is open but space is limited. To attend these talks, register here.

Full Day Workshop (10 AM - 4 PM):
Faculty invested in research and scholarship in the environment, climate change, health, and other related areas are invited to RSVP to the lectures and an afternoon workshop. Space is limited, so this is open to invested faculty and select students assisting with research and scholarly endeavors. Registration for this workshop will be confirmed by the sponsors as quickly as possible after submitting the interest form. Interested faculty can submit their interest here.



Dr. Brian Byrd is a Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences program, College of Health and Human Sciences, Western Carolina University. He received a Bachelor’s degree (Biology) from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, a Master’s of Science in Public Health Parasitology, and his Doctorate (PhD) from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. During his studies at Tulane he was a pre‐doctoral fellow in a CDC funded training program in vector‐borne infectious diseases. Currently, Dr. Byrd teaches courses such as Medical Entomology, Principles of Epidemiology, Global Health, and other Environmental Health Science courses. His research focuses on native and invasive domestic mosquitoes and mosquito‐borne diseases, with a regional focus on La Crosse encephalitis. He also maintains an active undergraduate research program where his students have been nationally recognized. He has authored or co‐authored peer reviewed manuscripts in discipline related journals and is a member of a number of professional organizations including the Society for Vector Ecology, the American College of Epidemiology, and the American Mosquito Control Association. 

Allison Crimmins is the Director of the National Climate Assessment for the U.S. Global Change Research Program as part of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Climate & Energy team. She is tasked with leading the fifth National Climate Assessment, expected to be released in 2023. Allison is a climate scientist detailed from EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and has expertise in assessing domestic and international climate impacts and mitigation benefits, particularly on health and economic damages. She has a record of convening diverse teams devoted to scientifically-sound risk assessment and policy implementation, notably as the lead of the 2016 U.S. Climate and Health Assessment. Allison was also an author on the fourth National Climate Assessment and co-lead on EPA’s 2017 Climate Change Impacts and Risk Analysis project.

Dr. Kathie Dello is the State Climatologist of North Carolina and the Director of the North Carolina State Climate Office. She is the 5th permanent director and first woman to hold this position in the office’s history. Kathie also serves as the co-director of the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) for the Carolinas, the Carolinas Collaborative on Climate, Health, and Equity (C3HE). Kathie is involved with climate resilience planning and impacts assessment. She is also a proficient science communicator, and frequently works with local and national media, NGOs, and other climate organizations. She works closely with North Carolina’s state agencies to help them understand their climate risk. Kathie has led climate assessment reporting in Oregon, and participated in assessment and adaptation planning in New York, Oregon, and North Carolina. Kathie comes to us from Oregon State University, where she was the associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service for almost 10 years. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from Oregon State University, a Master’s in Geography and a Bachelor’s in Atmospheric Science from the State University of New York at Albany. In her spare time, she likes to hike and bike.

Dr. Maggie Sugg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Planning at Appalachian State University. Her research focuses on the spatiotemporal patterns of environmental health illnesses and how these patterns relate to environmental, socioeconomic, and climatic determinants. Dr. Sugg has over 50 publications at the intersection of climate and public health. She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award and Environmental Protection Agency's STAR fellowship and funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP).


Download the promotional flyer here.

Questions? Please contact Gary McCullough ( or Christine Hendren (