Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Aug 7;17(16):5704. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17165704.
The objective of the study was to investigate, using academic-community epidemiologic co-analysis, the odds of reported heat-related illness for people with (1) central air conditioning (AC) or window unit AC versus no AC, and (2) fair/poor vs. good/excellent reported health. From 2016 to 2017, 101 Detroit residents were surveyed once regarding extreme heat, housing and neighborhood features, and heat-related illness in the prior 5 years. Academic partners selected initial confounders and, after instruction on directed acyclic graphs, community partners proposed alternate directed acyclic graphs with additional confounders. Heat-related illness was regressed on AC type or health and co-selected confounders. The study found that heat-related illness was associated with no-AC (n = 96, odds ratio (OR) = 4.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22, 17.72); living ≤5 years in present home (n = 57, OR = 10.39, 95% CI = 1.13, 95.88); and fair/poor vs. good/excellent health (n = 97, OR = 3.15, 95% CI = 1.33, 7.48). Co-analysis suggested multiple built-environment confounders. We conclude that Detroit residents with poorer health and no AC are at greater risk during extreme heat. Academic-community co-analysis using directed acyclic graphs enhances research on community-specific social and health vulnerabilities by identifying key confounders and future research directions for rigorous and impactful research.