Existing Challenges and Opportunities for Advancing Drought and Health Research

Jesse D. Berman, Azar M. Abadi, Jesse E. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Drought is one of the most far-reaching natural disasters, yet drought and health research is sparse. This may be attributed to the challenge of quantifying drought exposure, something complicated by multiple drought indices without any designed for health research. The purpose of this general review is to evaluate current drought and health literature and highlight challenges or scientific considerations when performing drought exposure and health assessments. Recent Findings: The literature revealed a small, but growing, number of drought and health studies primarily emphasizing Australian, western European, and US populations. The selection of drought indices and definitions of drought are inconsistent. Rural and agricultural populations have been identified as vulnerable cohorts, particularly for mental health outcomes. Summary: Using relevant examples, we discuss the importance of characterizing drought and explore why health outcomes, populations of interest, and compound environmental hazards are crucial considerations for drought and health assessments. As climate and health research is prioritized, we propose guidance for investigators performing drought-focused analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Climate change
  • Drought
  • Exposure assessment
  • Natural disasters
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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