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Programs in Seed Grants

Global population burden and adaptation priorities to extreme heat events

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

Climate change is rapidly increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heat stress, but relatively little is known about how these trends will impact the health of global populations — and how to mitigate these impacts.

Co-Principal Investigators Drs. Eran Bendavid, MS, MD, and Noah Diffenbaugh, MS, PhD, aim to address this increasingly relevant issue by developing a framework to prioritize adaptation needs to mitigate health risks associated with extreme heat. In a collaboration between climate and population health scientists, they plan to study global populations affected by extreme heat events from the past twenty years and predict exposure trends for the next decade. They’ll prioritize groups that may be at particularly high risk of ill health from heat stress, including those in low-income countries, the elderly, and young children. The team will review current heat adaptation plans to identify regions most at risk and least prepared for extreme heat events, creating a global map highlighting areas that need urgent prioritization. This project aims to ensure that those people most at risk for extreme heat receive the attention and resources they need. Researchers also hope to model an equitable example of innovative and solution-oriented collaboration between the public health and climate science sectors. 

“Increasing heat stress is a growing problem, and yet the populations most at risk and in need of adaptation solutions are under-recognized. We aim to change that,” said Dr. Bendavid.

Principal Investigators:

Eran Bendavid, MD, MS, Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Departments of Medicine (Division of Primary Care and Population Health) and Health Policy; Senior Fellow, Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment; Faculty Fellow, Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health

Noah Diffenbaugh, MS, PhD, Professor, Stanford University, Department of Earth System Science, Senior Fellow, Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment

Research Team:

Qinqin Kong, PhD Candidate, Stanford University, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences


Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment, School of Medicine Dean’s Office