Meet The Scholars: Jasmine Hiroko McAdams

Jasmine Hiroko McAdams is a PhD student in energy & resources at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of Health Policy Research Scholars Cohort 2023.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What’s the story behind your research interests and why you’re doing the work you’re doing?

Growing up in Florida, I have experienced many storms and their associated impacts. In particular, my predominantly-Black community was one of the few to lose access to water and one of the last to have its power restored experiences provided me with an intimate awareness of the disparities in the distribution of the benefits and burdens across the built environment, and also sparked my life-long drive to investigate and improve human relationships with the natural world. My educational and career pursuits have been motivated by this context, ultimately guiding me towards interdisciplinary research to better understand how climate-driven extreme weather events are impacting the electricity system, and investigate how the resilience capacity of the electric grid is distributed throughout communities.

For people who may be unfamiliar with your research area, what’s a piece of information that’s important for them to understand?  

The clean energy transition plays a critical role in both exacerbating and alleviating the burdens of mass incarceration. As we think about the just transition, it is important that we consider these nuances to ensure a more equitable future.

How do you envision your research contributing towards a Culture of Health? What specific areas or communities are you most passionate about in this regard?

People who are incarcerated overwhelmingly represent the most vulnerable populations in society, and these same populations are also at the greatest risk of facing the burdens of climate change. Thus, true climate justice cannot be achieved without reforming the structures that perpetuate this disproportionate harm. By working with advocates and those impacted by the carceral system, I think I can be most effective at realizing change by leveraging the abundance of resources provided to me to uplift the vision they have for a more equitable future. I also hope that this type of engagement will provide reciprocal benefits by building community capacity and broadening my perspectives on health equity. 

Beyond your current research, do you have any long-term goals within your field that you’d like to pursue?

I’m eager to work in and with communities to facilitate transformative change in decision-making.

How do you see HPRS complementing your doctoral training?

HPRS provides a supportive, inclusive, and intellectually rigorous community for me to explore new perspectives and methods.

What about HPRS excites you the most? What are you looking forward to as a scholar?

I’m excited about building a broader community of practice that will be an important part of the rest of my career. I’m looking forward to embracing the family that is HPRS.

What advice would you offer to aspiring researchers looking to embark on a similar path to yours?

Take advantage of all the opportunities to think outside of the box, and find environments that (whether it’s graduate programs, fellowships, lab groups, etc.) that encourage you to do so.

Let’s wrap up with a fun question: What’s a book, movie or tv show that you could keep reading/watching over and over again?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

Read Jasmine’s bio.



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