MI-Environment: Understanding Heat Stress Vulnerability and Promoting Climate-Related Health in Michigan

Authors: Patricia D. Koman1, Frank Romo, Carol Gray, Natalie Sampson, Susan Landfried, Michael Battaglia, Nancy H. French4, Kimberly Hill-Knot5, Marie S. O’Neill, Amy J. Schulz
Author Affiliations: 1University of Michigan School of Public Health; 2University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; 3University of Michigan Dearborn Department of Health and Human Services; 4Michigan Tech Research Institute; 5Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

Climate change poses significant challenges to local decision-makers tasked with identifying, preparing for, and responding to climate-related human health impacts such as heat stress. To support diverse stakeholders, we created the MI-Environment platform, including a heat stress vulnerability assessment. Our goal is to identify the relative vulnerability of census tracts within Michigan to cumulative environmental exposures. In the heat stress vulnerability assessment, we used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to combine future ensemble climate model projections with other data. The maps display the location and relative magnitude of climate vulnerability on three metrics: built environment (Place), future temperature, and population susceptibility (People). Working in partnership with community-based organizations and health practitioners, we conducted feasibility testing at a Science Café in Detroit to refine the MI-Environment tool and identify opportunities to intervene and improve health outcomes. We describe the engagement opportunities to illustrate how stakeholders used the MI-Environment tool, and we summarize key results including locations of vulnerable communities and populations, future opportunities, and planned upgrades to the MI-Environment platform.

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