Degree Name

MSEH (Master of Science in Environmental Health)


Environmental Health Sciences

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ying Li

Committee Members

Kenneth Silver, Andrew Joyner


Heat waves represent a public health challenge that requires multiple responses and warnings to protect vulnerable populations. Although studies have reported an increasing trend of heat wave occurrence in many areas of the world, no clear trend exists in East Tennessee. Using data from Parameter-elevated Relationships on Independent Slope Models (PRISM), CDC WONDER and the United States Census Bureau, the relationship between mortality rates and year was estimated during heat wave events between 1999 and 2010. Five heat wave definitions were tested. Overall, 2007 and 2010 stand out as the years with the highest number of heat wave days in East Tennessee. August could be described as the hottest month. Three of the heat wave definitions tested show increasing non-accidental mortality rates with year. The relative risk for cardiovascular mortality is elevated among females compared to males for one of the heat wave definitions (Relative Risk (RR) = 1.33, CI= 1.08-1.65).

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.