About Jessica White, Public Health Scientist at Maricopa County DPH, and Vjollca Berisha, Senior Epidemiologist for Maricopa County DPH

Jessica White, DrPH, MS is the Public Health Scientist for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. During her time at the county, her climate and health work has evolved from identifying heat-related illness within real-time hospital records to supporting community-generated plans for mitigating heat at neighborhood levels.

Vjollca Berisha, MD, MPH is the Senior Epidemiologist for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. She leads a multidisciplinary team in the areas of communicable disease and heat-related illness. She also leads the Maricopa County Climate Change and Public Health Coalition. This partnership engages external community partners and academic institutions to co-lead the effort on climate and health moving forward.

Using Data to Reduce Public Health Risk

Addressing the impact of heat on health is well-aligned with MCDPH’s vision and mission “to make healthy lives possible” by protecting and promoting the health and well-being of MC residents and visitors. The climate has significant impacts on our community’s health. Through extensive surveillance and community surveys, we have demonstrated the importance of local public health data to increase buy-in from new and existing partners and obtain funding to address this significant public health issue. We encourage other health departments to consider the power of data and collaboration as they seek methods for protecting the public’s health from a changing climate.

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