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New Heat Index Mapping Tool Highlights Communities Impacted by Climate Change and Resources for This Hot Season

A new Heat Index mapping tool, developed by PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California, in partnership with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, allows community groups, government entities, schools, tribal organizations, community members and other key audiences to scan their community and understand which areas and populations groups will be most affected by heat now and in the years to come.

For Media Inquires Contact:

Brandie Campbell

Email: bcampbell@phi.org
Cell: 510.285.5548

Screenshot of the HPI: Heat Edition

Summer is well underway and with the increasing effects of climate change – low rainfall and hotter temperatures – many parts of the state are predicted to experience extreme heat and the associated health impacts of high temperatures in these coming months.  Low-income and communities of color will experience the greatest impact.

A new California Healthy Places Index: Extreme Heat Edition tool allows community groups, government entities, schools, tribal organizations, community members and other key audiences to scan their community and understand which areas and populations will be most affected by heat this season and in the years to come. They can also determine what protections/interventions are most needed to address these challenges. The tool was developed by the Public Health Institute’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California in partnership with the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

“Open and accessible data on extreme heat impacts, linked with opportunities and funding sources, is key to empowering communities to build healthy, resilient neighborhoods. The California HPI: Extreme Heat Edition makes these data actionable through an interactive, easy-to-use tool,” said Tracy Delaney, PhD, the founding executive director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California.

Environmental exposures and community conditions influence how climate change will impact neighborhoods. Communities with healthier conditions (higher HPI score) such as tree canopy, healthy housing, economic security and transportation are better positioned to prepare, respond and recover from extreme heat events. Place does matter and a resilient community is a healthy community.

HOW AUDIENCES CAN USE THE TOOL

Schools and school districts, government agencies, community-serving organizations, tribal organizations and community members can utilize the tool to capture their neighborhoods’ risk for extreme heat, determine who is most impacted and identify resources to help mitigate the effects of heat.

The tool allows users to search by census tract (neighborhood) and rates a neighborhood by how many days it’s predicted to have extreme heat (above 90 degrees) and includes health indicators such as emergency room visits for asthma, heart attack or stroke and diabetes prevalence for different neighborhoods. In addition, the mapping tool captures demographic data, highlighting sensitive population groups that are more likely to experience disproportionate impacts of extreme heat such as communities of color, older adults and persons with disabilities, mothers and infants, non-English speakers and youth.

The tool also provides a search function for valuable resources that exist at the local and statewide level to prepare for rising temperatures.

HOW TO USE THIS TOOL TO IDENTIFY RESOURCES:

Schools and school districts: The heat index mapping tool provides data at the school district level for educators to compare their risks by district. School administrators can identify funding programs or resources available to weatherize classrooms and playgrounds.

Government agencies, community serving organizations and tribal organizations: The tool can be used to identify where to target climate change investments in communities who are most affected by heat (i.e. funding for urban greening).

Community members: The heat index mapping tool allows community members to identify programs to help make their home more energy efficient and help pay for energy costs (i.e. air conditioners for low-income families).

Funding for the heat mapping tool was provided by the California Strategic Growth Council’s Climate Change Research Program.

The tool builds on the Public Health Alliance’s existing Healthy Places Index 3.0  interactive online resource, which has been used by hundreds of state and local governments, community groups and independent agencies since 2018. Healthy Places Index 3.0 helps to determine local factors that predict life expectancy and compare conditions that influence health across the state and has helped direct more than $1 billion in funding to communities most in need.

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California is a coalition of the executive leadership of 10 local health departments in Southern California, based at the Public Health Institute. Collectively, our members have statutory responsibility for the health of more than 60% of California’s residents. The Alliance’s mission is to mobilize the power of local public health for enduring health equity, and its vision is ensuring vibrant and activated communities achieving health, justice, and opportunities for all. The Alliance does this by focusing on multi-sector policy, and systems and environmental change to improve population health and equity.

The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world.

 

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