Current Leader

Kevin Lanza

Kevin Lanza
Location: Austin, Texas Cohort Start Year: 2020 Project Topics: Behavioral and Mental Health, Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Community/Civic Engagement, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Environmental Justice, Obesity, Public, Population and Community Health Populations Served: At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities
Assistant Professor
UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin

All are affected by extreme heat, yet certain populations experience greater health burden. Low-income communities have constrained or unavailable resources to cope with heat, and discriminatory housing policies have led to a disproportionate number of individuals considered racial and ethnic minorities living in areas with elevated temperatures due to few trees and high amounts of building materials. High temperatures increase individuals’ risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and may be too uncomfortable for individuals to engage in physical activity. Kevin’s vision for a Culture of Health is to improve resilience to extreme heat for urban populations on the front lines of climate change. He aims to promote safe physical activity in warm climates for populations at risk of both heat-related illness and physical inactivity, including Latinx children from low-income families. In a divested neighborhood in Austin, Texas, he aims to develop what can be called “Cool Corridors”—a network of infrastructure (e.g., parks, sidewalks, and bike lanes) providing opportunity for safe physical activity through a layering of heat management strategies (e.g., tree planting and shade structures). He believes Cool Corridors can be a scalable solution for climate equity in a warming world.


Kevin approaches research with a transdisciplinary perspective developed from his formal training in environmental science, city planning, and public health. He works alongside the community to design and implement adaptation strategies for extreme heat. In community work, he is a firm believer in the mantra “nothing about us without us is for us.” The goal of his research is to inform policies that eliminate race-, ethnicity-, and class-based health inequities in the face of warming from urbanization and climate change. As an Asian Latino living in a big city with a warm climate, Kevin takes this challenge personally.



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