AZ’s First Statewide Heat Officer: Gov. Hobbs Takes a Proactive Approach to Extreme Heat Preparedness

Arizona health department appoints first statewide heat officer to combat extreme heat

In response to the increasing threat of extreme heat in Arizona, Gov. Katie Hobbs has appointed Dr. Eugene Livar as the first statewide heat officer in the nation. This appointment is a key component of the governor’s extreme heat preparedness plan, which highlights the state’s commitment to mitigating the impact of soaring temperatures in the arid Southwestern region.

With over a decade of experience in public health preparedness, Dr. Livar brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this new role. Previously serving as assistant director for public health preparedness, he played a critical role in contributing to the state’s overall heat plan. His appointment comes in response to the concerning increase in heat-related deaths in Arizona’s most populous county, Maricopa County, which experienced its hottest summer on record. This area, including Phoenix, is known for being one of the hottest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Recognizing the urgent need to address extreme heat, cities like Phoenix and Miami have already appointed their own heat officers to oversee efforts to protect their communities. With climate change leading to more frequent and enduring heatwaves, these officers play a crucial role in developing strategies to keep residents safe. In Phoenix, additional initiatives like the office of heat response and resiliency have been put in place to provide resources such as cooling stations and increased tree planting to help residents cope with the hot weather.

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