By: Bill Wellock | Published:

Extreme heat is the leading weather-related cause of death in the United States. It can kill through heat exhaustion or heat stroke, as well as by contributing to deaths from heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and other diseases. Vulnerable populations, such as older adults, infants, outdoor workers and others, are at increased risk.

Florida State University Associate Professor Chris Uejio researches extreme heat events. He is available to speak to media organizations about the risks of excessive heat and strategies for mitigating its impact.

Chris Uejio, associate professor, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Uejio researches how the physical environment influences human health and well-being. He co-authored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework, which was part of the 2012 President’s Climate Action Plan. He frequently works with health departments to understand and adapt to climate change. He is also a member of NASA’s Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, which rapidly responds to public health and air quality problems.

“Everyone faces risks from extreme heat, but some people are more vulnerable. Older adults, people with existing health problems, pregnant people and infants, low-income households, and people who live, work or exercise outdoors face the greatest risks.  

“In the U.S., extreme heat contributes to more deaths than any other weather hazard. Extreme heat impacts many parts of the human body and likely contributes to 10,000 excess deaths per year. Some of these deaths can be attributed to climate change. 

“Jurisdictions are in the early innings of designing effective programs to prevent heat-related health problems. Our group is studying how programs such as tree planting and other ‘green infrastructure,’ air conditioning adoption and usage, and energy-assistance programs can prevent these tragic deaths.”