In 2020, the Charleston Medical District (CMD), Climate Adaptation Partners (CAP), and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences Assessment (CISA) team began collaborating on an integrated heat research program. In a city where chronic flooding plagues neighborhoods, drawing attention to extreme heat and its health implications is a relatively new effort, and one that requires new types of collaborations in order to be effective. The City of Charleston, the CMD, The Citadel, and CISA with USC, UNC, NC State and Appalachian State alongside CAP and many local partners developed a new approach to raising awareness to extreme heat at a timely moment when over $2B of planned projects were proceeding without heat considerations. Striking in its absence, particularly given the expected tripling of extreme heat days in the area, the situation warranted further attention, and required a significant lift from many parties. With a growing network of collaborators, the team sampled data to draw attention to the problem, worked with local physicians to contextualize patient impacts and hosted a series of events in which the issues, the approach and the research program coalesced. Early results include alteration of the City Comprehensive Plan to be inclusive of Extreme Heat, integration of extreme heat in campus plans for all involved institutions, designation of ‘Heat Awareness Month’ by the Medical University of South Carolina, a significant increase in local interest in the issue, inclusive of the medical community as well as interfaith groups, tourism organizations and the technical community that previously focused only on water.
This session's speakers introduce the ramp up to the collaboration, the work in developing a coalition of partners, the heat/health relationship and importance of the research, the process behind the three types of parallel research programs and their interrelations, samples of initial data and early outcomes from the combined efforts.