Community Resilience and Health Collaboration Team

Improving community resilience and well-being by strengthening research and developing tools to increase understanding of interdependent social, natural, and built systems in the Arctic.

Scope of Activities

For a community to be resilient, there are many interacting elements including the community’s outlook, governance and leadership structures, interpersonal networks, preparedness, preventive and curative health services, food security, place-based knowledge, and access to resources such as clean air and water, energy, shelter, technology, and transportation. Arctic communities have been resilient in the face of change since time immemorial. Yet, the last half-century has brought changes of unprecedented pace and scale with implications for economies, cultures, the environment, and health.

Rapid warming due to climate change has cascading impacts on human health and wildlife health. Related changes in weather, increased risks from infectious diseases, and toxic algal blooms are all growing threats to social, natural, and built systems. Coupled with these changes are increasing health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. Mega-events, such as the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, can impose additional shocks that may result in lasting social and economic changes. While Alaska-based leaders are making progress in identifying urgent health needs, it remains the state with the greatest health security challenges. Taken individually, these various stressors pose formidable challenges for community resilience, health, and well-being. Taken together, combinations of stressors can greatly complicate resilience-building efforts and create difficult decisions about what and how to prioritize.

Thanks to advances in technology and innovations in research methodologies including participatory research and Indigenous approaches such as co-production of knowledge, the circumpolar knowledge base related to community resilience and health will continue to grow over the next five years. These advances will lead to research outcomes that inform agency and management decisions. Facilitated by developments in data management, modeling, observations (both satellite and in situ), and innovations in technology (including advanced computing and machine learning), and other foundational activities, notable improvements are expected in the predictive understanding of stressors, their characteristics, co-occurrence, and expected changes over time, from local to circumpolar scales. Recent research has also demonstrated the contributions to community sustainability and well-being that come with programs advancing cultural heritage, language preservation, and the use of museum and archival collections that promote health and help connect generations in a rapidly changing world.

Advances and new knowledge will lead to an improved understanding of the physical and social impacts of stressors as well as the implications for different community-based solutions. For example, through environmental observations and health surveillance networks, the design and implementation of computational models will strengthen methods for measuring multidimensional threats to community resilience and well-being (e.g., environmental and social changes that impact Arctic communities; energy, food security, and water quality; thawing permafrost and coastal erosion; concerns regarding built systems; and health disparities). Similarly, models can provide critical information to understand the interdependence of human and environmental systems, leading to improved health outcomes and enhanced resilience via a comprehensive methodology, such as the One Health approach, applied to the Arctic. Research will examine the ways that complex global stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, interface with Arctic community resilience and health.

Furthermore, the equitable inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge holders will strengthen methods for measuring multidimensional threats to community resilience and health, including but not limited to the impacts of sea level rise, coastal erosion, permafrost thaw, and other environmental changes on societies and culture, food security and water quality, and built systems. Improvements in meaningful engagement with Indigenous and local organizations through participatory research includes mutually beneficial research involving co-production throughout the research cycle (such as identifying research questions, conducting research, developing wellness indicators, producing results, and disseminating findings together) will lead to more relevant and timely community-based knowledge that can be used by decision-makers like health services providers and community and civic leaders.

Increased connectivity with other Arctic nations will facilitate stronger information sharing and foster collaborative international research projects that advance understanding of transboundary resilience and health challenges. These expected research developments illustrate the broad scope of progress and its potential to both inform fundamental understanding of these highly complex landscapes and meet the needs of Arctic communities to develop novel solutions in the face of emerging challenges.



Team Leaders

Suzanne van Drunick
USEPA Office of Research and Development

Dana Bruden
Centers for Disease Control

Sarah Yoder
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Website)

Katherine Ginsbach
O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Emily Trentacoste
US EPA

Heather Scobie
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Website)

Eva Patton


Deliverables from the Arctic Research Plan

2.3 Understand interactions between social, ecological, and physical Arctic systems, particularly in the context of coastal, climate, and cryospheric change.

  • 2.3.4 Integrate information from field, laboratory, and remote sensing studies to examine and quantify relationships among surface topography, vegetation composition, hydrology, disturbance effects (including fire, thermokarst, land use change, and wildlife), geophysical processes in permafrost soils, and humans. Share results in reports, presentations, and scientific publications.

3.3 Improve multi-species and ecosystem approaches to predict climate change impacts on species distributions and on economically viable access to commercial and subsistence species in the next 50 years.

  • 3.3.1 Develop short-term comparative model predictions of the distribution and populations of fishery species (e.g. pollock, cod, salmon, halibut, crab) in response to evolving climatic conditions in the Northern Bering Sea and Southern Chukchi Sea.

4.1 Summarize currently available data and information requirements associated with hazard and risk mitigation, adaptation, and response efforts. Synthesize community-led activities and information to identify potential needs for future efforts.

  • 4.1.2 Share findings of deliverable 4.1.1 as a means (1) to spur additional research and science communication aimed at addressing unmet needs for planning, prevention, response, and recovery and (2) to inform time-sensitive decision-making and planning processes.

DATA 1 Encourage and implement FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and CARE (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics) data management principles in the Arctic.

  • DATA 1.1 Identify verified points of contact (e.g., agency champions, data practitioners, Arctic residents, Indigenous organizations) and their areas of expertise and interests for working with the data team on exploring and implementing FAIR and CARE in Arctic data management. As part of developing the points of contact, identify and track representation across many axes of diversity (demographics, disciplines/sectors, IARPC experience, career stage, and others) to ensure a diverse and representative group of contributors. The data team will check in with these groups regularly to ensure the points of contact are up to date.
  • DATA 1.3 Based on input from engagement activities, develop and update centralized documentation of thematic areas of interest, ongoing activities, and key documents and resources that can inform deliverables and future Biennial Implementation Plans.
  • DATA 1.4 Convene quarterly seminars, discussions, and training on FAIR and CARE data management in the Arctic. Ensure a diverse group of presenters and contributors are represented in these activities.
  • DATA 1.5 Develop a common format and structure (e.g., questions, prompts) for team meetings to help elicit and articulate perspectives on all aspects of FAIR and CARE to help work towards the community summary/synthesis products below.
  • DATA 1.6 Develop a summary document of perspectives on implementing FAIR and CARE in Arctic contexts.
  • DATA 1.7 Based on the summaries mentioned in DATA 1.6, develop concise (i.e., one-pager) public-facing documents on data management considerations to align with FAIR and CARE principles.

EDU 1 Develop a ONE STEM hub.

  • EDU 1.1 Establish a ONE STEM hub.
  • EDU 1.2 Provide access to STEM internships, skill development opportunities, and career pathways for those living in and/or with interest in the Arctic, in particular for rural and Indigenous communities.
  • EDU 1.3 Engage in ongoing and respectful dialogue with communities about education, training, and capacity building needs. Document feedback.
  • EDU 1.4 Use quarterly meetings to build the STEM Education team into a robust community that supports promotion of STEM careers and skills for rural and Indigenous students.

MOMP 1 Coordinate activities and communities of practice that bring together Arctic modeling, observing, monitoring, and prediction to advance Arctic research.

  • MOMP 1.2 Support development of metrics that measure key Arctic processes and implementation of these metrics in benchmarking packages to facilitate model validation against observations.

MOMP 2 Support assessment, gaps analysis, and intercomparisons to understand observational and modeling needs in Arctic research.

  • MOMP 2.1 Develop an online tool for the research community to support expert elicitation and data visualization for the value tree gaps analysis methodology.
  • MOMP 2.4 Conduct workshops to identify Arctic modeling needs and priorities across research and operational modeling communities.
  • MOMP 2.5 Publish observing report tasked to the United States Arctic Observing Network (US AON) Board via IARPC.

MOMP 3 Support coordination and engagement with Federal, international, and non-Federal partners who are conducting monitoring, observing, modeling, and prediction of the Arctic.

  • MOMP 3.2 Coordinate communication of information about field activities to Alaska communities where the research is being conducted through the research expedition vessel status tracker and spring and fall reports on research season activities.

PILR 1 Fulfill Federal requirement to consult with Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.

  • PILR 1.1 Create a best practices document on meaningful consultation and engagement on Arctic research with Alaska Indigenous communities that is applicable to all Federal agencies.
  • PILR 1.2 Evaluate the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic 2018, and update as needed based on the evaluation.
  • PILR 1.3 Develop and deliver training for agencies to implement the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.

PILR 2 Engage Arctic communities and individuals in research in a way that is meaningful to them.

  • PILR 2.1 Create a training toolkit for scientists that can be self-guided and used as needed. Topics may include cross-cultural communication, consultation, participatory research, Indigenous Knowledge, overview of Indigenous culture groups, formal agreements, and how to contract and consult with Indigenous companies and individuals.
  • PILR 2.2 Create a report of examples where IARPC member agencies have engaged Indigenous Knowledge holders in research.
  • PILR 2.3 Request that each Priority Area Collaboration Team host regular meetings that meaningfully engage with Indigenous leaders, groups, and/or communities. This includes developing a list of contacts to support requests for engagement or tracking engagement with Indigenous participation.
  • PILR 2.4 Analyze and develop a report on broader impacts of science/research teams on Indigenous health and resilience.
  • PILR 2.5 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify mechanisms for Federal agencies to effectively communicate science plans and findings among themselves and with communities.

PILR 3 Develop guidance for agencies to consistently apply participatory research and Indigenous leadership in research.

  • PILR 3.1 Co-define “Indigenous leadership in research” with Tribes, Indigenous organizations, and Federal agencies; and integrate into the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic and its training toolkit and best practices documents.
  • PILR 3.2 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify methods to streamline contracting/agreements and compensation processes to make co-stewardship and co-production in research more equitable and achievable.
  • PILR 3.3 Convene discussions to identify mechanisms to foster equitable pathways for Indigenous leadership in research.
  • PILR 3.4 Identify best practices for Federal agencies to support capacity for Tribes and Indigenous Knowledge holders in research. Distribute guidance on best practices to IARPC agencies.
  • PILR 3.5 Ensure consistent terminology for Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Local Knowledge for IARPC. Suggest primary language for IARPC be Indigenous Knowledge.

Accomplishments

To be added in 2023.