STEM shoutout: Dr. Kira Villa
Economics prof awarded 2018 Women in STEM award
UNM Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Kira Villa was one of 10 women to receive a 2018 Women in STEM award. Her proposal is called “The Intergenerational Health Impact of Early Life Climate Variability and its Implication for Child Recovery from Natural Disasters: Evidence from Indonesia.”
Villa’s proposal revolves around research examining the impact of early life climate variability and its implications on child recovery from natural disasters.
To do this, Villa examined a sample of Indonesian women to study the effects of early life climate variability on their adult health as well as the long-term health of their children.
The goal was, “to examine how this intergenerational transmission of mother-to-child health affects child resiliency to four natural disasters that occurred in Indonesia during the 2000’s,” Villa said.
There is already evidence that climate and weather events experienced in early childhood can affect the well-being of an individual and come with long-lasting implications. However, through her research Villa has found that even year-to year variations in climate and/or weather can impact children’s health in ways that not only span into their adult lives, but can also affect the health of the next generation.
“Improved understanding of the extent that early life health transmits from one generation to the next tells us the degree to which the consequences of a health shock or the benefits of a health intervention will cross into the next generation,” Villa said.
This kind of health transmision is crucial information in understanding the relation between significant climate and weather events and the individuals who experience them.
“Improved understanding of the extent that early life health transmits from one generation to the next tells us the degree to which the consequences of a health shock or the benefits of a health intervention will cross into the next generation. Moreover, this also implies that the effect of her early health can be felt not only in the next generation, but also in the generation after that,” Villa said.