Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Heat Policy Innovation Hub

Heat Policy Innovation Hub

The hub brings together scientists and communities to develop and deploy innovative policy solutions that reduce the impacts of extreme heat on human health and well-being.

Media Inquiries

Ashley Ward, Jordan Clark, and other Duke experts are available to speak with journalists and decision makers interested in learning more about extreme heat and potential solutions.


Over the last 30 years, heat exposure has killed more people in the United States than any other weather-related phenomenon. The combined economic impacts of labor loss, hospital visits, and reduced agricultural yield—along with the health impacts of exposure—make heat among the most significant consequences of climate change for humanity.

The Nicholas Institute’s Heat Policy Innovation Hub is the first program in the United States dedicated to cross-disciplinary innovation on extreme heat policy and practice. Located in a region profoundly affected by extreme heat, Duke University is particularly well-situated to influence—and potentially transform—our nation’s approach to this critical issue. The Heat Policy Innovation Hub brings together Duke’s globally recognized expertise in medicine, health, policy, engineering, the environment, and ministry. The hub is aligned with the Duke Climate Commitment, a university-wide, impact-oriented effort to address the climate crisis.

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub integrates research with community engagement to inform policy innovation in three ways:

  • Collaborative research projects contribute to the knowledge base necessary to inform and guide effective policy solutions.
  • Actionable solutions pose potential fixes that require specific policy innovations and interventions.
  • Purposeful partnerships advance research-supported approaches that require further community and stakeholder engagement to yield effective and actionable policy solutions.

The hub leverages these strategic approaches to develop and deploy policy solutions to reduce the impacts of heat on health outcomes.

Focal Areas

Planning and Preparedness

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub is partnering with federal, state, and local agencies to incorporate extreme heat into their existing guidance for weather-related risks.

Women's Health

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub is examining and addressing the impacts of extreme and chronic heat on the health and well-being of women.

Early Warning Systems

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub is improving preparedness and reducing health impacts of extreme heat events through advanced heat stress indices and individual vulnerability considerations.

Rural Interventions

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub is addressing the critical gap in attention toward how extreme heat affects individuals and communities in rural areas.

Climate-Informed Care

The Heat Policy Innovation Hub is integrating healthcare and climate science to pioneer a climate-informed care model.


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