Rx for Heatwaves: Sacramento Needs a Comprehensive Plan for Extreme Heat

Op-ed by Dr. Nneoma Nwachuku Ojiaku
Published in Island Press | September 1, 2022

Sacramento is sick. Heat sick.

Last summer our city endured some of the hottest temperatures on record, with July 2021 posting the second-highest temperature ever — 113 degrees — for downtown Sacramento. By century’s end, Sacramento could be grappling with the limits of human survivability if comprehensive action is not taken now on extreme heat.

Heatwaves are more than a mere inconvenience: they are deadly. Extreme heat claims more lives than any other weather-related event. Heatwaves can cause heat stroke, in which the body overheats, damaging multiple organ systems. Exposure to extreme heat exacerbates pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Also, some medications, especially vital psychiatric drugs, affect temperature regulation, putting people at increased risk of heat-related illness and death.

As an obstetrician, I see the effects of heatwaves on pregnant people. Exposure to extreme heat is linked to…..READ FULL ARTICLE>


Nneoma Nwachuku Ojiaku, MD, MPH is a board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and a 2022 Climate & Health Equity Fellow with field of concentration was Chronic Disease Epidemiology with a special interest in health disparities among African American and immigrant populations. Her other interests are in patient education, quality improvement, and achieving health equity. Dr. Ojiaku has completed several research projects, presented at national conferences, and has published papers relating to women’s health.