Ivan Ramirez

Ivan Ramirez CTT Assistant Professor
CTT Assistant Professor
Health and Behavioral Sciences

Office location:
North Classroom 3023A

Office hours:
Tuesday: 12:30pm-2:00pm


Zoom: Appointment Only

Overview: I am a geographer whose research focuses on the intersections of climate change, global and urban health, disasters, and community engagement. As an avid climate-health-society researcher, my scholarship strives to elucidate how communities interact with the many facets of climate and how those interactions influence the health and social vulnerability of populations and places. I am also interested in understanding how public health and communities respond to and cope with weather, water, and climate-related hazards and disasters, as well as ethical and justice implications.

Research: I examine the environmental and social peculiarities of the equatorial Pacific Ocean phenomenon known as El Niño-Southern Oscillation as a way to understand the complexity of health impacts associated with climate variability and extreme events. Past El Niño projects include cholera emergence and social vulnerability (Peru) and disaster capacity building in Latin America. Current projects include spatiotemporal analyses of malaria (Peru) and ecosyndemics in South and Central America. Both involve characterizing vulnerability to multiple infectious disease risk. I also investigate social determinants of chronic conditions and mental health, including more recently, how COVID-19 coincides with spatial patterns. Although this work is focused on Colorado, future applications will be broader in geography and scope. Both areas of research build geographic frameworks for syndemic health theory. Inspired by collaborations with El Puente (Brooklyn, NY) and Protegete (Denver, CO), I also focus on community engagement and environmental justice; working with and understanding how local community-based organizations and residents take action. My work is published in interdisciplinary journals, such as Weather, Climate & Society, EcoHealth, International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, and Behavioral Medicine.

Teaching: As an educator, I teach from a cross-disciplinary perspective and strive to employ student-centered approaches. I develop case studies, foster group activities, and use innovative web-based technologies to enhance learning. Importantly, I raise justice-oriented questions about public health and environmental change. At CU Denver, I teach undergraduate courses in global demography, urban and environmental health, as well as teach a graduate course focused on theories/approaches in population health, integrating social sciences, climate knowledge, and ethics whenever possible.

Service: Much of my service work aligns with CU Denver’s equity-oriented mission. For example, I served on the Equity Task Force and CLAS Working Group; and currently, I am Faculty Fellow at The Center for Faculty Development and Advance (CFDA), focused on the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD)-related resources. Professionally, I serve on the editorial board for Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology and as a climate-society expert for the Geography Commission of the U.S. National Section of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): I am strongly committed to fostering DEI initiatives in higher education and supporting community efforts for environmental justice. Motivated by experiences with initiatives, such as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) (as undergrad), the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty (as Ph.D. candidate), and Consortium for Faculty Diversity (as postdoc), I advocate for DEI-related programs to mentor and support students and faculty. 

Ph.D., GeographyMichigan State University, 2012
Doctoral Specialization, Ethics and Development, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 2011
Graduate Certificate, Community Engagement, University Outreach and Engagement Center, Michigan State University, 2011
M.A., Climate and Society, Columbia University, 2006
B.A., Environmental Studies (Department of Geography), Hunter College, City University of New York, 2005

Barton, K., Lee, J., & Ramírez, I.J. 2023. Disease Discourses, African Knowledge Systems, and COVID-19 in Senegal. In Global Health, Humanity and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Philosophical and Sociological Challenges and Imperatives, Egbokhare, F., & Afolayan, A. (Eds.). New York: Palgrave. 

Lee, J., & Ramírez, I.J. 2022. Geography of disparity: connecting COVID-19 vulnerability and social determinants of health in Colorado. Behavioral Medicine, 48, 72-84.

Ramírez, I.J., & Lee, J. 2021. Deconstructing the spatial effects of El Niño and vulnerability on cholera rates in Peru: Wavelet and GIS Analyses. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 40. 

Ramírez, I.J., and J. Lee. 2020. COVID-19 and Ecosyndemic Vulnerability: Implications for El Niño-Sensitive Countries in Latin America. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. 

Ramírez, I.J., and J. Lee. 2020. COVID-19 Emergence and Social and Health Determinants in Colorado: A Rapid Spatial Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 17, 3856. 

Glantz, M.H., and I.J. Ramírez. 2020. Reviewing the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) to enhance societal readiness for El Niño’s impacts. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 11, 394–403. 

Ramírez, I.J., and J. Lee. 2020. Mapping ecosyndemic and social vulnerability in Guatemala during the 2014-16 El Niño: An exploratory GIS analysis, Proceedings, 44.

Lee, J. and I.J. Ramírez. 2019. The Intersection of Housing and Mental Health in Colorado: Mapping Critical Social Determinants of Health (Report No. 18-09A). Denver: Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver

Ramírez, I.J., A. Baptista, J. Lee, A. Traverso-Krejcarek, and A. Santos. 2019. Fighting for Urban Environmental Health Justice in Southside (Los Sures) Williamsburg, Brooklyn: A Community-Engaged Pilot Study. In Handbook of Global Urban Health, I.Vojnovic, A. Pearson, A. Gershim, A. Allen, and G. DeVerteuil. New York: Routledge. 

Ramírez, I.J. 2019. Exploring Tropical Variability and Extremes Impacts on Population Vulnerability in Piura, Peru: The Case of the 1997-98 El NiñoIn Tropical Extremes: Natural Variability and Trends (Observations, Modelling and Theoretical Expectations), V. Vuruputur, J. Sukhatme, R. Murtugudde, and R. Roca (Eds.). New York: Elsevier. 

Ramírez, I.J., J. Lee, and S.C. Grady. 2018. Mapping multi-disease risk during El Niño: an ecosyndemic approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 2639

Glantz, M.H., and I.J. Ramírez. 2018Improvisation in the time of disaster. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 5. DOI:10.1080/00139157.2018.1495496.

Ramírez, I.J and F. Briones. 2017. Understanding the El Niño "Costero" of 2017: the definition problem and challenges of climate forecasting and disaster responses. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science8, 489-492. DOI: 10.1007/s13753-017-0151-8

Ramírez, I.J. and S.C. Grady, 2016: El Niño, climate and cholera associations in Piura, Peru, 1991-2001: A wavelet analysis. EcoHealth, 13, 83-99. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-015-1095-3.


PBHL 2052: Global Demography and Health

PBHL 3020: Introduction to Environmental Health

PBHL 3081: Health in the City

PBHL 4099: Capstone Experience in Public Health

HBSC 7071: Social and Behavioral Perspectives in Population Health