Seulkee Heo

Seulkee Heo's picture
Associate Research Scientist, School of the Environment

Curriculum Vitae               Google Scholar

Ph.D. - Department of Public Health, Korea University, 2016

M.P.H - Department of Public Health Science, Korea University, 2014

B.H.S. - Department of Environmental Health, Korea University, 2012

Hi, my name is Seulkee and am investigating health effects of climate change, air pollution, and urban built environment. My early experience in serving as a student assistant for numerous government research projects of climate change and public health has cultivated my passion in research that can aid decision-makers in environmental health policy and urban planning. These policy-relevant research works include establishment of processes for applying indicators for food and environmental hazards in policy-making, improving real-time hospital surveillance systems, drawing national disease maps for top climate-related diseases, and developing forecasts of extreme weather for susceptive subgroups and built environment.

My primary research interest is to study the short-term health effects of ambient high temperature and air pollution with several facets such as health disparities and effectiveness of policy for reducing health risks. For example, I researched the effectiveness of heat wave warning systems in South Korea using sophisticated thermal stress indices based on satellite remote sensing data, large-scale mortality and hospitalization data, and a quasi-experimental research design. 

I am also investigating how and by what conditions the green space affects various human health outcomes and modifies the relationship between air pollution and health outcomes. My current work investigates the relationships between local green space, human mobility patterns during COVID-19 pandemic, and mental health outcomes in urban and sub-urban regions in the US. Further, I am investigating Environmental Injustice of access to green space by socioeconomic status in the capital city in South Korea. My long-term goal is to understand the broad urban system of health, air pollution, climate change, and green space.   

Summary of Research Interests

  • Health effects of ambient temperature and air pollution

  • Development of health-oriented extreme weather alert systems  

  • Evaluation of environmental health policies of climate change and air pollution 

  • Disparities of health in urban populations by built environment

  • Environmental justice 

  • Health implications of green space provisions.

Selected Awards

  1. Competitive Scholarship, Korea University (2008, 2010, 2015)

  2. Scholarship for research assistant by Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School, Korea University (2012-2013)

  3. Award for student presentation in academic conference by Korean Society of Environmental Health (2011). “The importance of scientific approach to public health issues: Japanese well water contamination and DPAA exposure accident.”

Selected Publications

  1. S Heo, E Lee, BY Kwon, S Lee, KH Jo, J Kim. Long-term changes in the heat-mortality relationship according to heterogeneous regional climate: a time-series study. BMJ Open, 2016;6(8): doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011786. PMID 27489155.

  2. S Heo, ML Bell. Heat waves in South Korea: differences of heat wave characteristics by thermal indices. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2018; doi:10.1038/s41370-018-0076-3. PMID 30283069. 

  3. S Heo, ML Bell, JT Lee. Comparison of health risks by heat wave definition: Applicability of wet-bulb globe temperature for heat wave criteria. Environmental Research, 2019;168: 158-70. PMID 30316101.

  4. S Heo, A Nori-Sarma, K Lee, T Benmarhnia, F Dominici, ML Bell. The Use of a Quasi-Experimental Study on the Mortality Effect of a Heat Wave Warning System in Korea. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019;16(12): E2245. PMID 31242672.

  5. S Heo, KC Fong, ML Bell. Risk of particulate matter on birth outcomes in relation to maternal socio-economic factors: a systematic review. Environmental Research Letters. 2019;14(12): 123004. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab4cd0.

  6. S Heo, ML Bell. The Effect of Particulate Air Pollution on Hospitalization and Effect Modification by Green Space. Environmental research 2019;174: 61-68. PMID 31039514.