Raphael Arku

Headshot of Fellow Raphael Arku
Assistant Professor

Department of Environmental Health Sciences
School of Public Health and Health Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA

Fellowship Project: Environmental exposures in the home environment and COPD exacerbation.

Raphael E Arku is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, School of Public Health & Health Sciences. Dr. Arku’s field of teaching and research is primarily in air pollution, with the broad focus of his research on how features of the social and physical environment influence environmental exposures and health in resource-poor settings, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations, both locally and globally.

On an international level, Dr. Arku has been working to address important questions in global health on how poverty, unsafe water and sanitation, lack of access to clean cooking fuel, and high levels of air pollution in cities disproportionately influence population health in low- and middle-income countries. For example, with collaborators from leading universities in Ghana, Canada, UK, Bangladesh, and China, coordinated by Imperial College London, he is taking the lead on the Ghana component of a multi-investigator, multi-country project titled “Pathways to equitable healthy cities”, which aims to understand how actions related to water, sanitation, housing, transportation, and urban services affect health and health inequalities in cities. In another project, Dr. Arku and his colleagues from the University of British Columbia and Oregon State University, are working on a global study assessing air pollution and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in low- and middle-income economies within a large international cohort.

Locally in the US, Dr. Arku has contributed to research on air pollution in Boston Public Housing, one of the largest housing authorities in the US, focusing on how to promote public health policies to improve health in low-income households. As he moves forward in his career at UMass Amherst with support from the JBP Fellowship Program, Dr. Arku aims to partner with colleagues from the Baystate Health and Baystate Medical Center to use novel technological approaches to characterize the living environment for communities in Western Mass that are differentially affected by high rates of childhood asthma and child mortality, and adult Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Raphael received his Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Environmental Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2015, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of British Columbia in 2017.