Heat Waves Impact Our Health

Professor Monteblanco turns up the heat on environmental and health research

Pacific University’s very own Assistant Professor of Public Health Adelle Monteblanco was recently recognized this year with Portland Business Journal‘s “40 under 40” award—and, more specifically, for her work and outreach into the community involving environmental change and health awareness. It is a big honor, and a recognition that academic work can go beyond the classroom and have important community impacts. Monteblanco has published work that explores health and environmental impacts and, this past July, she helped conduct a community science-led mapping project studying the increasing heat waves in the Portland-metro region. 

The Index: What drives you to spread awareness and conduct research about the environmental effects on human health?

Adelle Monteblanco: Environmental health is central to promoting public health. I’m so thankful for the policies that protect our air and our water, promote disaster preparedness, and safeguard outdoor workers. Being in the classroom means I get to shape the future of the public health workforce – people who will lead outreach events, procure funding, and prevent outbreaks. Studying extreme heat specifically means I get to bring attention to the deep inequities that exist in our community. All heat deaths are preventable, which means we have the power to adjust how we work, recreate, connect, and move around the world to promote heat safety. 

The Index: What did being recognized with the “40 under 40” honor mean to you?

AM: The nomination and award were a total surprise. It is an honor to be recognized as a force for the future among the “40 Under 40” Portland Business Journal 2023 cohort. Considering that I am the only awardee from the academic world, I thank the Portland Business Journal for recognizing that mentoring and teaching college students has a ripple effect on how the next generation contributes to and transforms the Portland metropolitan area and beyond. Plus, it was a super fun event in which I got to celebrate with my nominator Muyoka Mwarabu, a dear friend of 24 years.

The Index: Where do you envision yourself in five years time? Are there specific goals you would like to accomplish during that time?

AM: A main goal of mine is to learn more about the resources and needs of the region. This will help me offer local examples in class as well as offer opportunities for students to do internships and gain employment. 

The Index: Do you have any research projects and/or research studies planned for this fall semester similar to the summer heat wave study you helped conduct his past July?

AM: As the summer winds down and our local temperatures cool, I have the opportunity to turn my attention to writing. In summer 2022, I completed a collaborative project in Nashville, Tennessee where we assessed the heat exposure of youth. My colleagues and I are analyzing and writing up that data and we look forward to submitting numerous manuscripts for publication.  

The Index: What was the last concert you went to?

AM: Janet Jackson

The Index: If you could be any animal what would you be? Why? 

AM: I’d be a manatee! They take numerous naps throughout the day and hate cold weather.


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