University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Community Assessment of Extreme Heat Preparedness in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Megan L. Christenson, MS, MPH; Colleen E. Moran, MS, MPH; Bria S. Grant, BS; Nicholas C. Tomaro, DVM, MPH; Jon G. Meiman, MD

WMJ. 2021;120(3):222-225.

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Background: This article describes the first Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) rapid needs assessment project to be conducted in Wisconsin. The project focused on extreme heat preparedness.

Methods: Fifteen teams conducted household surveys in 30 census blocks in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Results: Survey results indicated that the majority of households were unaware of the location of a nearby cooling center. Although the vast majority of households reported some form of air conditioning in their house, over half felt too hot inside their home sometimes, most of the time, or always.

Discussion: The community partnerships ensured that this project was conducted with local partner input and that the data could be used to inform extreme heat response.

Author Affiliations: Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin (Christenson, Moran, Meiman); UniteMKE, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Grant); City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Tomaro).
Corresponding Author: Megan L. Christenson, MS, MPH, Wisconsin Division of Public Health, 1 W Wilson St, Room 150, Madison, WI 53703; phone 608.266.7897; email
Acknowledgements: The authors thank the following individuals who dedicated their time to the project: Amy Schnall from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who provided technical assistance; Maggie Thelen from Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) for her assistance with creating maps; Josh Wolf for his assistance with the initial planning; Kate Goodwin (Maricopa County Department of Public Health) for her advice; Jose Rodriguez, formerly of City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD), Lindsey Page (MHD), Ramona Lake (DPH), Dave Rozell (DPH), Svea Erlandson (DPH), and Disa Patel (DPH) for serving as team leads; and staff from UniteMKE, WestCare, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD), University of Wisconsin Population Health Fellowship, and DPH for conducting surveys on interview teams. Authors also thank the many organizations that reviewed the survey: MHD; DPH epidemiologists, Minority Health Office, Southeast Regional Office, Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care, Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources, Wisconsin Climate and Health Program Health Equity Action Team and Science Advisory Group; Milwaukee Heat Task Force; Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management; National Weather Service; The Nature Conservancy; University of Wisconsin Survey Center; Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers; and Northern Illinois University students. Finally, we would like to thank the Milwaukee residents who participated in the survey.
Funding/Support: Ms Christenson, Ms Moran, and Dr Meiman report a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the conduct of the study; Ms Grant reports grants from the Wisconsin of Department of Health Services Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health during the conduct of the study.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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