Heat-related Hospital Admissions Among the Elderly: Community, Socio-economic and Medical Determinants of Vulnerability and Economic Impacts

EPA 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 , Brown, Daniel , Diez Roux, Ana V. , Levy, Helen , Schrag, Daniel , Schwartz, Joel , Williams, Roger , Zanobetti, Antonella
Current Investigators: O'Neill, Marie , Brown, Daniel , Diez Roux, Ana V. , Levy, Helen , Schrag, Daniel , Schwartz, Joel , Stults, Melissa , Williams, Roger , Zanobetti, Antonella
Institution: University of Michigan , Harvard University , ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability/Cities for Climate Protection Campaign
Current Institution: University of Michigan , Harvard University , ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability/Cities for Climate Protection Campaign , University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
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: Global Climate Change , Health Effects , Health , Climate Change

Objective:

  1. 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)
  2. Quantify the economic impact of these admissions under different climate change scenarios and adaptive/mitigative strategies, addressing equity concerns
  3. Disseminate results to city officials in order to foster and inform preventive actions and policies

Approach:

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Expected Results:

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.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 37 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 20 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

global climate, health effects, sensitive populations, susceptibility,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Risk Assessments, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmosphere, Risk Assessment, air quality modeling, ecosystem models, elderly adults, climatic influence, heat related health effects, modeling, hormone degradation, climate models, demographics, human exposure, regional climate model, heart attacks, cardiotoxicity, ambient air pollution, cardiovascular disease, Global Climate Change, human health risk, biochemical research

Progress and Final Reports:

2006 Progress Report
2007 Progress Report
2008 Progress Report
2009 Progress Report
Final Report