Arizona has a new Chief Heat Officer

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Dr. Eugene Livar is the state’s new Chief Heat Officer. He is the first statewide Chief Heat Officer and also the first to hold such a position in the U.S. Dr. Livar’s position is an initiative created under Governor Hobbs’ Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, which was released on March 1, 2024.

Dr. Livar joined Arizona Horizon to discuss his new position and strategies moving forward. Visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website to learn more about Dr. Livar.

Dr. Livar outlined the responsibilities that come with his new role. Primarily, he will oversee the implementation of Governor Hobb’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, ensuring that necessary measures are taken to safeguard communities during the sweltering heat seasons. Additionally, he aims to facilitate smooth communication between local communities and federal partners to enhance collaboration in combating heat-related challenges.

Dr. Livar reports to the Cabinet Executive Officer of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Jennie Cunico, and collaborates with various state agencies, including the Governor’s Office of Resiliency. Together, they are focused on proactive measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of extreme heat.

The Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, released in March, emphasizes preparation as a key strategy. It involves developing and training community navigators to improve access to essential services, particularly for vulnerable populations. Cooling centers, vital in providing relief during heatwaves, are being expanded to offer services such as mental health and healthcare support.

While the majority of cooling centers are concentrated in urban areas like Maricopa County and Pima, efforts are underway to ensure equitable access across all regions of the state.

Addressing the issue of homelessness amid soaring temperatures, Dr. Livar highlighted the need for innovative solutions and community outreach. Extending the operating hours of cooling centers and enhancing connectivity to support services are among the strategies being pursued to protect the unhoused population from heat-related risks.

Dr. Eugene Livar, Chief Heat Officer

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