Understanding public health adaptation to climate change: a reflexive monitoring study into the development of Oak Processionary Moth disease prevention

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a serious, worldwide public health concern. To reduce these threats to human health and wellbeing there are numerous calls for public health adaptation (PHA). However, still a limited number of PHA actions take place.

The Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) is identified as one of the emergent PHA problems. However, few PHA actions to prevent the OPM take place, due to uncertainties and a lack of knowledge on organisational as well as on the socio-technical level. Moreover, there is a wide range of actors involved, who have different fields of expertise and perspectives and there is not a single acceptable solution to deal with the uncertainties concerning OPM disease prevention. Therefore, the overarching aim of this study is to increase insight into how OPM disease prevention develops in practice to facilitate PHA.

The concepts of social learning and adaptive capacity will be used to provide a perspective on adaptation and the (collaborative) learning process. Therefore, the research question is: (how) does social learning contribute to OPM disease prevention and the development of public health adaptation?

Firstly, a qualitative explorative study will be conducted to assess how the context of social learning for the development of OPM disease prevention strategies can be characterised and what the state of development of OPM disease prevention networks is. Subsequently, reflexive monitoring will be applied to the development of national, regional and local OPM networks, to understand how OPM social learning contributes to OPM disease prevention networks and how knowledge is developed, implemented and evaluated in these networks. Lastly, a survey and in-depth semi-structured interviews will be conducted to understand how citizens contribute to social learning in OPM disease prevention networks and how this supports citizens to adapt to the OPM.