Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announces first-ever Chief Heat Officer
County joins as founding member of Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center’s City Champions for Heat Action – an Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance Initiative
Today Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that Miami-Dade County and the Resilient 305 network have joined the City Champions for Heat Action (CCHA) initiative, a cornerstone program of the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance (EHRA). The announcement was made in partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) – a global team committed to providing one billion people with resilience solutions by 2030. EHRA founding members along with Miami-Dade County include Athens, Greece and Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Together with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Resilience Center and the Miami Foundation, Mayor Levine Cava announced that Jane Gilbert will serve as the County’s first-ever Interim Chief Heat Officer. The new position, hosted by The Miami Foundation, will work in partnership with the Resilient305 network – created by the County with the cities of Miami Beach and Miami and now including most of the County’s 34 municipalities.
“In Miami-Dade County, we know heat! As the impacts of heat grow, they are further compounded by hurricanes, floods, and sea level rise,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “And we know extreme heat does not impact people equally– poorer communities and Black and Hispanic people bear the brunt of the public health impacts. Appointing Miami-Dade’s first Chief Heat Officer will help expand, accelerate, and coordinate our efforts to protect people from heat and save lives.”
Gilbert previously served as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Miami, leading development of the Resilient305 Strategy among diverse stakeholders. For more than 20 years, she has created and led public-private partnerships focused on strengthening the community. As a consultant, she managed The Miami Foundation’s civic leadership agenda on sea level rise, coordinating the unified application to 100 Resilient Cities. She also led efforts for a study on how best to communicate policy and action priorities related to sea level rise. Previously, she led Wells Fargo’s philanthropy and community affairs in South Florida and was the founding executive director for two nonprofits, Dream in Green and Arts for Learning/Miami.
Gilbert will co-lead an interagency Heat Health Task Force to be formed this summer, with Dr. Cheryl Holder as co-chair of this initiative.
Dr. Holder is a highly respected South Florida clinician, educator and community leader who has dedicated her medical career to advocating for underserved and vulnerable populations. She is president of the Florida State Medical Association, a regional arm of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest U.S. organization representing African American physicians and their patients. She also serves as co-chair of Florida Clinicians for Climate Action, working to increase climate literacy and enhance awareness of the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations.
Mayor Levine Cava’s landmark appointment, together with the commitments by Athens, Freetown, and other global cities expected to sign on to CCHA in the near future, signals the urgent need for local governments to dedicate resources to combat the growing risks and impacts of extreme heat, especially for vulnerable communities. Known as the “silent killer,” heatwaves cause more deaths than any other climate-driven natural disasters in the U.S., threatening the health and wellbeing of billions of people across the globe.
Miami-Dade County has long been a leader in addressing extreme heat and the urban heat island effect. Signature programs include Million Trees Miami led by Gabriela Lopez and Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Department with the mission of growing a healthy urban forest that provides a minimum of 30 percent tree canopy coverage and the maximum social, economic, and environmental benefits. The Department of Environmental Resources Management’s popular “Adopt a Tree” Program has also provided shade and fruit trees to over 200,000 Miami-Dade residents. The County’s Office of Emergency Management and OEM Director Frank Rollason will work with the new Heat Health Task Force to create a Heat Plan that includes such innovations as “Resilience Hubs” to ensure all residents have access to a place where they can cool off during extreme heat events or power outages.
Today’s announcements also mark the launch of the Arsht-Rock global #HeatSeason campaign leading up to National Heat Awareness Day on May 28.
Join us by following @ArshtRock on Twitter and using #HeatSeason across all social media channels.