Evidence of human-caused climate change over the past 50 years has been well documented. Global surface temperature has increased approximately 0.70 C over the past 50 years and much of that increase can be attributed to anthropogenic sources. Climate change is anticipated to affect human health largely by changing the distribution of known risk factors such as extreme heat episodes, floods, droughts, air pollution and aero-allergens, and vector- and rodent-borne diseases. In particular, an expected increase in the frequency, intensity, and severity of extreme heat episodes, will likely have a profound impact on the public's health. Changes in the levels of air pollutants such as particulate matter and ozone can potentially exacerbate the already severe effects of heat. Designing interventions and mitigation strategies to protect the public's health will require first developing a clear understanding of how extreme heat episodes affect mortality and morbidity and identifying populations that are most vulnerable. This project will be an applied study focused on the effects of climate change- induced extreme heat on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the US elderly population (age >65 years). Our goals are to (1) conduct a national study of the cardiovascular mortality and morbidity effects of extreme heat episodes in a vulnerable population (the elderly);(2) evaluate the extent to which biological, socio-economic, and environmental factors modify vulnerability to extreme heat;and (3) estimate the impact on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity of future extreme heat episodes using temperature projections from the most up-to- date global climate model simulations for the 2020-2100 time period under a range of assumptions about pollutant emissions, population health, population age structure, climate adaptation, and climate modeling approaches. This project brings together a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in biostatistics, environmental epidemiology, atmospheric science, engineering, large database management, and climatology.

Public Health Relevance

One of the more robust signals of future climate change is the occurrence of more severe heat- related extremes, such as increases in the length, frequency, and intensity of heat waves under any scenario of greenhouse gas concentrations. This project will improve both public health and clinical practice by rigorously quantifying the effects of biological, environmental, and socio- economic factors that make individuals and populations more vulnerable to extreme heat. By providing broad-based evidence of the modifying effects of these factors, findings from the project will serve as the scientific foundation for designing targeted interventions to protect vulnerable groups.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-PSE-D (55))
Program Officer
Dilworth, Caroline H
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Biostatistics & Other Math Sci
Schools of Public Health
United States
Zip Code
Krall, Jenna R; Hackstadt, Amber J; Peng, Roger D (2017) A hierarchical modeling approach to estimate regional acute health effects of particulate matter sources. Stat Med 36:1461-1475
Liu, Jia Coco; Wilson, Ander; Mickley, Loretta J et al. (2017) Wildfire-specific Fine Particulate Matter and Risk of Hospital Admissions in Urban and Rural Counties. Epidemiology 28:77-85
Berman, Jesse D; Ebisu, Keita; Peng, Roger D et al. (2017) Drought and the risk of hospital admissions and mortality in older adults in western USA from 2000 to 2013: a retrospective study. Lancet Planet Health 1:e17-e25
Kioumourtzoglou, Marianthi-Anna; Schwartz, Joel; James, Peter et al. (2016) PM2.5 and Mortality in 207 US Cities: Modification by Temperature and City Characteristics. Epidemiology 27:221-7
Son, Ji-Young; Gouveia, Nelson; Bravo, Mercedes A et al. (2016) The impact of temperature on mortality in a subtropical city: effects of cold, heat, and heat waves in São Paulo, Brazil. Int J Biometeorol 60:113-21
Liu, Jia Coco; Mickley, Loretta J; Sulprizio, Melissa P et al. (2016) Particulate Air Pollution from Wildfires in the Western US under Climate Change. Clim Change 138:655-666
Son, Ji-Young; Lane, Kevin J; Lee, Jong-Tae et al. (2016) Urban vegetation and heat-related mortality in Seoul, Korea. Environ Res 151:728-733
Wang, Yan; Bobb, Jennifer F; Papi, Bianca et al. (2016) Heat stroke admissions during heat waves in 1,916 US counties for the period from 1999 to 2010 and their effect modifiers. Environ Health 15:83
Dominici, Francesca; Wang, Yun; Correia, Andrew W et al. (2015) Chemical Composition of Fine Particulate Matter and Life Expectancy: In 95 US Counties Between 2002 and 2007. Epidemiology 26:556-64
Peng, Roger D; Butz, Arlene M; Hackstadt, Amber J et al. (2015) Estimating the health benefit of reducing indoor air pollution in a randomized environmental intervention. J R Stat Soc Ser A Stat Soc 178:425-443

Showing the most recent 10 out of 38 publications