This pilot study aims to increase resilience to the public health risks of dangerous extreme heat episodes in the U.S.-Mexico border region. We will focus resilience efforts and resources on marginalized residents in underserved colonias of San Elizario, TX, and among expectant mothers. (Colonias are characterized by a lack of public services and basic infrastructure, such as potable water.) Environmental justice is highlighted because: 1) residents of colonias and expectant mothers (with their unborn fetuses and infants) are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat; 2) risks are amplified by substandard housing and infrastructure; and 3) heat risks are projected to increase.
Partners include AYUDA (environmental protection advocates for low-income residents), Paso del Norte Red de Promotoras (community health workers [CHWs], “promotoras”), maternal health providers (MHPs), and researchers from multiple institutions and disciplines. Together, we will:
- co-develop, implement, and evaluate a certified heat-health risk-training program and neighborhood network
- building strategy;
- develop and evaluate low-cost interventions to reduce negative heat-health impacts to residents and expectant mothers; and
- organize a prototype border-wide learning network, to improve heat-health preparedness.
Proposed outputs include bilingual training curricula, educational materials, project reports and evaluation—communicated to stakeholders and partners. Expected outcomes include increased capacity to address heat-health risks, cross-fertilization of ideas between partners and among prospective learning network communities—to strengthen the capacities of populations at risk to heat waves, and improved understanding of heat-health risks and risk communication. Expected impacts include improved public understanding of risks, and reduced vulnerabilities to heat waves.
Funding from: Agnese Nelms Program in Environment and Social Justice
Partners: AYUDA, Paseo del Norte Red de Promotoras