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HUE grantees talk heat on Vitalyst Spark podcast

Vitalyst Spark Podcast | July 6, 2020

As temperatures rise this summer in Arizona, three heat experts — including two Healthy Urban Environments grantees — talked heat in the latest Vitalyst Health Foundation podcast, Vitalyst Spark. Catch grantees David Hondula, an assistant professor at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and Vjollca Berisha, a senior epidemiologist with Maricopa County Department of Public Health, on episode 35: "Heat, Health and COVID-19."

Hondula and Berisha strive to meet the needs of vulnerable populations and educate communities about available resources. In the podcast, they talk about heat and COVID-related challenges and opportunities that are shaping our lives in Maricopa County.

June 2020 HUE convening

June 30, 2020

Overcoming social distance limitations, we successfully convened our grantees this summer. The first convening, on June 17th, focused on the progress of HUE’s first cohort: the 2019 grantees. In a virtual meeting the 2019 cohort presented their projects to 26 participants. Presentations were followed by a vivid discussion including questions from the 2020 cohort as well as from the HUE team.

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Arizona Heat Awareness Week

May 28, 2020

It is the end of May and we are already feeling the impacts of the Arizona heat. Every year the triple-digit temperatures last through September and kill many residents and visitors. In 2019, a preliminary count identified 443 people who died from heat-caused and heat-related deaths in Arizona. This year — with more people staying at home due to the pandemic — the summer heat will impact low-income communities even more.

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Many resources and programs are available to help individuals cope with the heat and the financial burden that comes with it. As part of the 2020 Arizona Heat Awareness Week, the Arizona Department of Health Services compiled multiple resources to help our communities. Please share these resources with others that can benefit from them. You can also find more resources and data online from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

COVID-19 and HUE mission statement

May 6, 2020

Phoenix skyline at sunsetIn honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we are reaffirming our commitment to protecting and promoting the natural environment and local communities. Access to healthy environments is of primary importance, now more than ever.

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged our economic, social, and cultural systems, dramatically changed our daily lives, and created added uncertainty to future plans. At the Healthy Urban Environments Initiative (HUE), we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our community of researchers, innovators, and stakeholders. We are concerned about the impact of increasing urban heat during social distancing requirements and the greater vulnerability to COVID-19 for those in areas of poor air quality especially in the upcoming hot summer months.

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High school students from Chandler receive $50,000 grant

March 25, 2020

Arizona State University’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative awarded an innovative team of science students from the Arizona College Prep-Erie Campus with a $50,000 grant for their work on a heat stroke prevention device. With funding, these 9th and 10th graders will build a prototype of the device to test on student athletes.

According to Rachna Nath, a science teacher for the ACP-Erie campus, she and the students have been working with Chandler Innovations on the project since August 2019. After testing the device, they will report all data collected to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, of which HUE is a unit.

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Healthy Urban Environments hosts Urban Heat and Air Quality Solutions Workshop

November 12, 2019

HUE Network members share ideas on how to advance urban heat and air quality solutions.
HUE Network members share ideas on how to advance urban heat and air quality solutions

On October 28, 2019 the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) initiative held its Fall 2019 Solutions Workshop. This workshop served to formally convene the HUE Network of Concerned Parties — a diverse working group focused on collaboratively working towards advancing urban heat and air quality mitigation solutions. Going forward, the Network will support working groups engaged in planning and action around specific intervention opportunities, communicating best practices, and training future practitioners.

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Jennifer Vanos awarded 2019 Climate and Health Champion Award

November 7, 2019

Dr. Jenni Vanos leading Tempe Heat Walk researchSchool of Sustainability assistant professor Jennifer Vanos was recently awarded Maricopa County's 2019 Climate and Health Champion award in the research category for her outstanding work in understanding the hazards and health outcomes associated with children's playspaces. Her work, which is supported by the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) initiative, evaluates how playspace design mediates exposure to heat, radiation and air pollution impacts.

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ASU and Tempe collaborate to organize Heat Walk

September 22, 2019

Tempe Heat Walk community event group photoOn September 21, Arizona State University and the City of Tempe conducted Tempe’s first Heat Walk: a community event orchestrated to help city officials and ASU researchers understand how residents experience heat in their neighborhoods, parks and multi-use paths. According to Jennifer Vanos, an assistant professor in the School of Sustainability and senior sustainability scientist the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, “Our goal is to ensure that public spaces that are meant to be used for activity, play and active transport are thermally comfortable and safe from extreme heat for as much of the day and year as possible."

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Maricopa County and ASU combat urban heat with Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) initiative

View Source | November 14, 2018

city with mountains at sunsetThe Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) approved a grant to the ASU Foundation for a New American University for research to help reduce urban heat and improve air quality. The $2.99 million grant is for three years and will help get the Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) Initiative at Arizona State University off the ground.

“As regional leaders, our job is to improve quality of life and that is what this partnership will do,” said Steve Chucri, District 2, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “The fact is, our weather is reaching new extremes, making ozone a bigger problem. This summer, we had more than 40 straight days of ozone alerts. This can’t be the new normal. As Chairman, I committed us to the hard work involved in building a smart, sustainable future. I am hopeful that other governments and community partners will follow our lead in supporting this important work.”

The HUE initiative takes a solutions-based approach to heat mitigation and air quality improvement, capitalizing on ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, its School of Sustainability and its partners around the world, to address the unique challenges facing a county that is comparable in size and scale to some countries.

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