Matilda is a doctor in medicine as well as in landscape planning and public health.
Since July 2016 she is an assistant professor at The University of British Columbia, Canada, where 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 spaces, can influence human health and how this displays in various populations across various socioeconomic conditions. The policy goal is to develop evidence-based plans for 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 form urban nature, involving for example increased physical activity and stress recovery in relation to preventing several non-communicable diseases. Much of the research focuses on linkages between various types of land-use data and health mediators or outcomes. 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 epidemiological statistics, 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 the Climate Change and Innovation Bureau Health Canada. Apart from pan-Canadian collaborations, she has a broad, international scientific 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 co-editor of the Oxford University Press textbook on Nature and Public Health, to be published early 2018.
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.
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.
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.