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Phone: (202) 737-9006, ext. 9820
Wendy Marie Thomas is a Policy Analyst with the AMS Policy Program. She examines environment and health policy, on both climate and weather scales. In particular, she explores ways that a changing climate and severe weather impact human health, health care infrastructure, and health care delivery.
She collaborates with federal partners to build the national capacity to connect hydrometeorological, climatological and public health sectors in order to improve health care preparedness, and infectious disease surveillance and response. Because evidence-based tracking of infectious diseases reveals that climate transitions could exacerbate or initiate new disease patterns, Wendy Marie works to improve societal health and well-being by integrating public health and environmental sciences.
On the weather scale, severe events (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, strong winds, extreme temperatures) pose considerable risk to healthcare delivery and healthcare infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, clinics, pharmaceuticals, etc). Wendy Marie works to reduce the vulnerability of healthcare infrastructure to severe weather by promoting improved communication and coordination across federal agencies and between the public and private sectors. For example, she recently received a 5-year NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research grant to conduct policy workshops that will bring together key decision-makers from public health, emergency management, engineering, commercial insurance, law, and the meteorological community to develop and recommend possible solutions.
She also collaborates with the AMS Certified Broadcast community to develop effective communication strategies for educating the public about the links between climate and weather impacts on health. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), she informs on-air meteorologists about reporting considerations in the event of an emergency. Her media collaborations support her policy research by rounding out information for the general public and decision-makers about the intricate connections between environment and health.
Finally, she performs service activities as chair or member of advisory boards for PlanItNow, a non-profit that carries a mission of communicating preparedness to vulnerable populations in coastal locations.
Biographical information: During her graduate studies of dispersion dynamics in complex terrain and shallow fluids, she received several individual and collaborative grants to conduct experimental and modeling investigations concerning atmospheric chemistry and particle dispersion in shallow fluids. These include an NSF joint-study grant to investigate ozone formation and dispersion in an arid complex terrain (1997-98); Edna Bailey Sussman Trust Fellowship to identify the chemical speciation and mountain-valley flows patterns of particulates (1998-99); and, Department of Energy grant to research sediment dispersion in near-shore flows using an annulus tank (2002-2004). She was given the honor of "Meritorious Performance in Teaching" in dynamic meteorology by the Dean of The University of Arizona (2001). Wendy Marie holds a B.S.F.S. (Bachelors in Science for Foreign Service) in International Politics, Organization, and Law/Foreign Service from Georgetown University (1993), an M.A. in Physical Geography from Arizona State University (1999), and an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from The University of Arizona (2004).