NIHHIS is bringing together these agencies, decision-makers, and researchers to characterize the impact of heat on the health of many vulnerable populations including older adults, children, outdoor workers, athletes, and the military. NIHHIS regional pilots in the Southwest, Northeast, and Midwest/Great Lakes are co-developing requirements and climate information to capture and address what may be unique decision-making contexts, but also to propagate good practices and encourage harmonization of approaches wherever possible. With emerging capacity to predict aspects of heat across time scales from days to emerging 3-4 week outlooks, to calls for seasonal and yearly information from the health community, the demand for an integrated suite of climate and weather information is emerging. NIHHIS is poised to provide this information, combined with relevant public health, safety, emergency management, and other information to support well informed decisions that protect vulnerable populations and entire communities.
This presentation will provide an overview of the NIHHIS approach to managing extreme heat, and will include consideration of the key agency research program contributions to NIHHIS. A detailed look at the regional pilots, starting with the Southwestern pilot activities held in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez, and continuing to the Northeastern pilot region inclusive of New York and New England, will be provided. Importantly, these regions differ in terms of the character of extreme heat (arid and chronic versus humid and episodic), vulnerability to extreme heat (pervasiveness of air conditioning, demographics), and in terms of short-term and long-term needs for climate information. Special attention will be paid to the many sectors with decision-makers engaged in each region, the decisions they must make to protect vulnerable populations, the timescales for such decisions, and the climate and health information needs to support these decisions.