Heat-related Hospital Admissions Among the Elderly: Community, Socio-economic and Medical Determinants of Vulnerability and Economic ImpactsEPA Grant Number: R832752
Title: Heat-related Hospital Admissions Among the Elderly: Community, Socio-economic and Medical Determinants of Vulnerability and Economic Impacts
Investigators: O'Neill, Marie , Diez Roux, Ana V. , Zanobetti, Antonella , Schrag, Daniel , Brown, Daniel , Levy, Helen , Schwartz, Joel , Williams, Roger
Current Investigators: O'Neill, Marie , Diez Roux, Ana V. , Zanobetti, Antonella , Schrag, Daniel , Brown, Daniel , Levy, Helen , Schwartz, Joel , Stults, Melissa , Williams, Roger
Institution: University of Michigan , ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability/Cities for Climate Protection Campaign , Harvard University
Current Institution: Harvard University , ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability/Cities for Climate Protection Campaign , University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2006 through December 1, 2009 (Extended to December 31, 2010)
Project Amount: $576,091
RFA: The Impact of Climate Change & Variability on Human Health (2005) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Climate Change
- a) Determine whether excess hospital admissions occur among elderly people
during hot weather in 34 U.S. cities, from cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes
and heat-related causes
b) Assess whether vulnerability to heat-associated hospital admission differs, according to:
- co-morbid conditions (diabetes; cardiovascular, respiratory, renal disease; overall frailty)
- individual characteristics (race, gender, age, use of public vs. private hospital)
- city-wide characteristics (percent poverty, percent with college education,
percent of non-white population, air conditioning (AC) prevalence, percent
green space, housing characteristics, air pollution concentrations, weather
variability, city preventive programs)
- Quantify the economic impact of these admissions under different climate change scenarios and adaptive/mitigative strategies, addressing equity concerns
- Disseminate results to city officials in order to foster and inform preventive actions and policies
A research team with expertise in epidemiology, statistics, economics, climatology and medicine will quantify impacts of climate change on health by assessing which individual and community characteristics reflect special vulnerability, in a study of heat and hospital admissions among the elderly in U.S. cities. In cooperation with ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, representing 157 cities in the U.S., results will be disseminated to inform development of preventive programs. The three study objectives will be accomplished by:
- Analyzing data on Medicare hospital admissions in 34 U.S. cities from 1985-2003, combined with environmental data and city-wide characteristics (Census socioeconomic data, American Housing Survey information on housing type and AC prevalence, percent green space from satellite photos, government preventive programs, weather variability and air pollution levels).
- Estimating costs of admissions using the Medicare billing data, and predicting how potential climate change, and societal activities to reduce heat exposure, may affect these costs in the future.
- Incorporating results into a software planning module for use by local governments and holding a workshop with local officials to discuss results and preventive strategies.
The results will describe the impact of heat on hospital admissions among the elderly and relate these estimates to climate change. Local public health officials have requested more quantitative information on how climate change may affect human health, and this study will provide data to support risk assessment and efforts in prevention and outreach. Understanding whether these associations differ by community, medical and socio-economic characteristics will allow public health and environmental protection programs to be tailored appropriately.