Meet Dr. Ethan Walker - CPHR's new Assistant Professor

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Ethan Walker, PhD, MPH, has recently transitioned from his role as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at CPHR and the School of Public and Community Health Sciences to Assistant Professor of Biostatistics.

Dr. Walker earned a PhD in Environmental Health and Epidemiology from Colorado State University, a Master of Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Dr. Walker’s research focuses on exposures and health outcomes related to biomass air pollution sources, with the ultimate goal of reducing air pollution exposures and improving health outcomes among vulnerable populations. Previously, Dr. Walker studied indoor air pollution from biomass cookstoves used in lower- and middle-income countries, a practice which impacts nearly 40% of the world’s population. Since coming to UM in 2019, Dr. Walker’s research has shifted to focus on air pollution sources that are common across Montana and the Western US. Wood stoves are common sources of household heating in rural US regions, and the growing threat of wildfires impacts many of these same households. Air pollution from both wood stoves and wildfires often leads to poor indoor air quality and is associated with numerous adverse health outcomes.

One of the primary aims of Dr. Walker’s research is to study air pollution among patients with existing cardiometabolic disease who may be more vulnerable to wood smoke exposures. To achieve this aim, Dr. Walker is implementing a framework that will utilize low-cost sensors to capture long-term, continuous air pollution exposures at the household level and remote collection of repeated measures of health data. This framework will provide a setting for future studies to implement and test novel intervention strategies aimed at reducing air pollution exposures and improving health across rural Montana.