PHOENIX — Phoenix leaders announced on Tuesday that an ASU professor will lead the first Office of Heat Response and Mitigation in the nation.
Dr. David Hondula will head the office tasked with creating a plan that addresses the threat of urban heat and protects vulnerable citizens, Phoenix city leaders said.
There was a record number of heat-related deaths in Maricopa County in 2020, a 62% increase from 2019.
Multiple heat-related deaths have been reported this year, including a woman recently found dead on a Scottsdale hiking trail.
City Manager Ed Zuercher said that urban heat is a growing threat to the Valley's most vulnerable communities.
Hondula has had multiple leadership roles in urban heat and has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences.
City officials said he's worked as a climate and health scientist for decades with an emphasis on heat danger.
"David is not only an expert in the science of heat but is passionate about the strategies designed to combat the impact of rising temperatures," Zuercher said.
Hondula said that he commends the city for creating the office and for devoting resources toward it and that he is committed to delivering "tangible results."
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