185941 Approach of the Montreal public health department to diminish mortality and morbidity associated with heat waves

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 5:30 PM

Norman King, MSc , Urban environment and health sector, Montreal public health department, Montreal, QC, Canada
Louis Drouin, MD, MPH , Urban environment and health sector, Montreal public health department, Montreal, QC, Canada
Warming of temperatures is one of the recognized impacts of global climate change and estimates show that close to 300 deaths related to heat waves could occur annually in Montreal by the year 2050. This situation requires that public health authorities develop programmes to diminish the projected excess mortality and morbidity. The Montreal public health department has risen to this challenge by elaborating a multifaceted approach aimed at protecting the vulnerable population from the effects of heat waves.

Firstly, we have mobilized health care, municipal and community resources and the media in order to ensure that our public health message reaches the vulnerable population and those that come into contact with them regularly.

Our evidence based heat health warning system (HHWS) defines five levels of intervention including seasonal preparation starting in mid-May and the surveillance of health data along with weather forecasts in order to determine whether emergency procedures such as opening air-conditioned shelters are necessary.

Research projects being carried out include an evaluation of our preventive health messaging and the development of GIS systems to identify urban heat islands (UHI) and where vulnerable populations live with respect to these (UHI).

Finally, the public health sector is involved in collaborative projects aimed at diminishing the effects of UHI. Working to diminish greenhouse gas emissions as part of Montreal's contribution to this global effort is also a public health priority and the transportation sector has been targeted as one in which major gains can be achieved.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the importance of developing public health interventions (including a heat health warning system or HHWS)to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with heat waves in an urban environment 2. Identify the steps required to elaborate such interventions and the different partners necessary to enable successful implementation of these interventions. 3. Recognize the importance of generating research data as an evidence base for developing a heat health warning system (HHWS). 4. Understand the importance of including both adaptation and mitigation measures in public health interventions aimed at reducing mortality and morbidity associated with heat waves in an urban environment.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Evidence Based Practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been in charge of the implementation of the heat plan for the Montreal public health department since the inception of the heat plan.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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