Luke Smith, assistant research professor and environmental epidemiologist at Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute, will discuss "Thunderstorms, Pollen and Severe Asthma in Minnesota 2007-18: Combining Data," at the Department of Geography's Coffee Hour lecture series. His talk will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, in 112 Walker Building on the University Park campus and via Zoom.
Smith will address the medical anomaly known as thunderstorm asthma, which arises from the simultaneous occurrence of high pollen and thunderstorms. By utilizing data from weather sensors, daily pollen counts, and asthma-related ER visits from 2007 to 2018 in the Twin-Cities metro region, Smith will offer a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon.
The lecture will detail the correlation between asthma-related ER visits and thunderstorm asthma conditions near the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, evaluating risks both on a wider scale and at an individual zip code level. Smith's research further investigates disparities in thunderstorm asthma risks across various age and gender demographics. It also examines the potential to use exposure data to predict thunderstorm asthma links across different Minnesota locales.
Smith received his doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota in 2020. His expertise lies in the health implications arising from climate exposures, including heatwaves, wildfire smoke and thunderstorms. Apart from assessing their impacts on heart attacks, preterm births and asthma, Smith is keenly interested in health disparities and their resultant outcomes for vulnerable populations.
Smith’s talk is part of the fall 2023 "Coffee Hour" seminar series hosted by Penn State’s Department of Geography. To learn more and access the Zoom information, visit the Coffee Hour event webpage.