Matilda is a doctor in medicine as well as in landscape planning and public health.
She holds a shared affiliation between the School of Population and Public Health and the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences.
She investigates how environmental exposures, for example urban green and blue spaces, can influence human health with a recent focus on childhood health and development. The policy goal is to contribute to evidence-based development of healthier cities in a changing climate, with sustainable solutions for the health of humans and natural environments.
Her interests include regulating urban ecosystem services, such as heat reduction and consequential reduction in heat related morbidity and mortality, as well as cultural services from urban nature, involving for example increased physical activity and stress recovery in relation to preventing several non-communicable diseases. Previous studies have included experimental research in virtual reality laboratories, analyzing psychophysiological responses to different standardized environments with biomarkers. Various methods are used for analysing impact of exposures, such as epidemiology, GIS-analyses, randomised trials, and systematic reviews. She has also developed theories on how external and internal stimuli affect our automatic brain systems, based on neurological fundaments regarding altruism, pro-social and pro-environmental behaviour.
Matilda works for numerous health and environment related international organizations, for example the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Health Canada. Apart from pan-Canadian collaborations, she has a broad, international network, across health and environmental disciplines, in for example Germany, Sweden, UK, Iran, US, Italy, and Spain. She is Associate Editor of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and primary editor of the Oxford University Press Textbook on Nature and Public Health (2018).
The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium, CANUE Current
September, 2017 – March, 2021
CANUE is a pan-Canadian research consortium that will gather and develop measures of environmental factors for every neighbourhood across Canada. Types of environmental exposures that will be considered are the amount of nearby traffic, local air quality, access to greenspaces, opportunities for walking and cycling, and the amount of noise and light pollution.
The consortium involves all major research institutes in Canada and the foremost Environmental Health researchers in the country and internationally.
By partnering with Canada’s largest cohort and health databases, CANUE members will build an unprecedented capacity to study how multiple environmental factors are linked to a wide range of health outcomes. This work will enable effective, evidence-based strategies for planning healthy cities and towns, today and in the future. By collaborating with similar initiatives around the world, CANUE will develop standard measures of environmental factors, giving environmental health researchers a remarkable opportunity to uncover how these factors create both positive and negative impacts on our health.
January, 2016 – June, 2020
BlueHealth is a pan-European interdisciplinary research initiative investigating the links between environment, climate and health.
The programme is specifically focused on understanding how water-based environments in towns and cities can affect health and wellbeing.
It brings together experts from nine institutions and is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.
Green Infrastructure and Urban Biodiversity for Sustainable Urban Development and the Green Economy,Green Surge Completed
January, 2014 – December, 2017
The GREEN SURGE project is a collaborative project between 24 partners in 11 countries. It is funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
GREEN SURGE works with identifying, developing, and testing ways of linking green spaces, biodiversity, people, and the green economy in order to meet the major urban challenges related to land use conflicts, climate change adaptation, demographic changes, and human health and wellbeing. It contributes to a sound evidence base for urban green infrastructure planning and implementation, exploring the potential for innovation in better linking environmental, social and economic ecosystem services with local communities.
Born to be Wise: Impact of Modifiable Early-life Environmental Exposures on the Health and Development of Children Current
April, 2018 – March, 2021
Born to be Wise is a CIHR-funded Project grant.
The goal of this project is to analyse associations between environmental exposures (urban green spaces, air pollution, and noise) and early childhood development. The main outcome will be new knowledge on how both harmful and beneficial environmental exposures may influence early development, especially among children of poor socioeconomic status (SES). This will provide input for future intervention studies as well as contributing to urban planning guidance for improved early childhood development.
The team includes internationally acclaimed experts in green space and health, early development studies, air- and noise pollution analyses and modelling from UBC and the BC Children’s Hospital, as well as world-renowned international geospatial and statistical expertise from the University of California Berkeley and Los Angeles.
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