Rio Grande river
By Pari Noskin

Global Concern

UNM Researcher Recognized for Study of Climate Change Impacts on Women

When was the last time you read research about how climate change affects mental health or women? If you can't remember, it's probably because these important aspects of climate change are often ignored in the literature.

Érinn Cameron, MA, aims to change that. Cameron is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology and psychology intern in The University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.

She was recently awarded the Feminist Africa Research Award for 2022-2025. This prestigious honor will fund her continued studies addressing these issues in sub-Saharan Africa.


Érinn Cameron, MA.
Women are disproportionately affected by the adverse effects of climate change
Érinn Cameron, MA

“Women are disproportionately affected by the adverse effects of climate change," Cameron says. "In addition, mental health is often overlooked as a consequence of this environmental crisis. My research looks at anxiety, depression and trauma, that can result from climate change, especially in relation to water scarcity."

Cameron is the principal investigator for a team that plans to build an entirely new theoretical framework that focuses on this area. "Studies show that violence against women increases following natural disasters, particularly human trafficking and sexual violence," she says.

"Resource scarcity increases during floods, droughts, hurricanes, and extensive heat fluctuations,” Cameron says. “Pregnant women need water to nurse their children and for basic sanitary reasons, especially during birth and menstruation. The prevalence of malaria, HIV and other diseases also goes up. We want to understand how all of this is affecting women's mental health."

Cameron has had a varied life experience. She has lived in more than 10 countries including Kenya, Ghana, Portugal and Morocco. Before starting her work in psychology, Cameron was a first-generation university student who earned degrees in biology and chemistry.

Among her many careers, she taught high school science, worked as a professor at a university in Kenya and conducted whale research in the North Sea. It's no wonder that her perspective and concern are on a global scale.

Cameron's studies have also garnered national attention. She has been invited to speak at the Stanford University Global Health Research Convening 2023 in January. The Feminist Africa Research Award is based at the University of Ghana.

Cameron is in the first cohort to receive the award. It will fund several trips to Africa including field work in Namibia, Ghana and Zambia. "They had so many applicants," she says. "I'm the only climate researcher among them. I'm very honored to be chosen."

Visit Cameron’s website to learn more about her diverse research and other work.

Categories: News You Can Use, Research, School of Medicine, Top Stories, Women's Health