Heat Waves, Household Adaption, and Infant Health in California

This project investigates how heat waves harm pregnant women and newborns, especially in poorer communities with less air conditioning, aiming to inform policies that reduce these health disparities.

We propose to conduct pilot research to investigate the health impacts of heat waves on pregnant women and newborns and explore socio-economic disparities in household resilience to climate change. By integrating California birth records with multiple datasets on weather, housing characteristics, and socio-economic statuses, we will examine the health impacts of heat waves in a more fine-grained manner, distinguishing the heterogeneous effects of heat exposures with varying intensity, duration, and timing on each stage of pregnancy. In addition, we will zoom in on the distributional effects of heat waves on infant health across different socio-economic statuses, emphasizing the disparities in adaptation and resilience to heat waves due to the lower availability and affordability of residential air conditioning among disadvantaged communities. The project aims to reveal the link between heat waves, household resilience, and infant health outcomes, shedding light on potential socioeconomic and health injustices and supporting evidence-based policy recommendations to mitigate disparities in infant health and climate resilience. 


Zhen Lei

Associate Professor, John and Willie Leone Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering (EME)

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