Jeannie Sowers receives grant to study health impacts of infrastructure destruction in Middle East wars

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Political science professor Jeannie Sowers headshot

Jeannie Sowers, associate professor of political science, has received a grant to study the nexus of energy infrastructure and human health in wars in the Middle East, with a particular eye toward COVID-19 impacts. The project, funded by the Duke University Energy Initiative, is in conjunction with Erika Weinthal of Duke’s Nicholas School for the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy.

“In protracted conflicts in the Middle East, destruction of civilian infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure, is a prevalent feature of war-making, producing public health crises, de-development and mass displacement,” says Sowers. “This project focuses on the energy-health nexus, as the targeting of energy infrastructure in conflict produces numerous reverberating effects for human health such as food insecurity and the spread of infectious disease.”

In addition to using their existing data set to examine health impacts from energy infrastructure destruction, Sowers and Weinthal will build new collaborations with scholars and practitioners working on linkages between energy and health in protracted conflicts, convening a workshop with humanitarian organizations and networks. The yearlong grant is for $42,000.