MBBS, MMedSci (AMU), PhD (Qld)

Health Sciences

Peng Bi is Professor of Public Health and Environmental Medicine at the University of Adelaide where he directs a team undertaking climate change and health adaptation research. His team conducts research on the health risks from extreme heat and risk factor identification for the development of relevant policy and guidelines for preparedness, response and recovery, and precision adaptation measures for vulnerable communities in the context of climate change.

His cohesive program of climate change and health comprises several avenues of enquiry: health effects, burden of diseases and associated healthcare costs from extreme heat, most vulnerable population identifications and an exploration of the risk factors for heat related illnesses. His team also identified the barriers for health adaptation amongst vulnerable communities. Together with stakeholders, they have worked on policies and guidelines development and precision adaptation and emergency response mechanisms to heatwaves tailored to vulnerable communities, including the development of risk communication tools for older people and CALD communities. In addition, they have investigated the capacity of the healthcare system to deal with the challenges posed by climate change; and undertaken an assessment of the impact of climate change on vector/food-borne disease transmission in the lens of one health. 

His team analysed the association between climate variability and mortality/morbidity in urban and rural areas in Australia. Evidence on the threshold temperatures that may trigger increased negative health outcomes was provided to SA Health and the State Emergency Service in 2010 to inform the development and implementation of a heat and health warning system (HHWS), that has had both health and economic benefits with reduced morbidity and hospitalisation costs. National harmonisations of heatwave warning approaches have been undertaken through the Australian and New Zealand Emergency Management Committee and the HHSW has now been adopted as a national emergency warning mechanism in Australia.

They have also researched the impact of heatwaves on Work Health and Safety (WHS), quantified the negative impacts of extreme heat on workers’ WHS, identified the most vulnerable industries, occupations, and workers, examined the current WHS policy and guidelines, and investigated the perceptions and knowledge of frontline workers, managers and WHS representatives in the battle against climate change. The research findings have informed the development of recommendations for national WHS regulators to effectively manage the risks posed to workers by climate change and develop strategies to strengthen the resilience of high-risk industries and vulnerable workers. 

January 2012, Professor, The University of Adelaide

Inaugural President’s Award for Research into the Public Health Effects of Climate Change from the Council of Public Health Institutes of Australasia, 2020

Tony McMichael Public Health Ecology and Environmental Award from the Public Health Association Australia, 2021

Finalist of the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research, 2022

1. Liu J, Varghese B, Hansen A, Zhang Y, Driscoll T, Morgan G, Dear K, Gourley M, Capon T, Bi P. Heat exposure and cardiovascular health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Planetary Health, 2022; 6(6):e484-e495

2. Liu, Z., Tong, M. X., Xiang, J., Dear, K., Wang, C., Ma, W., . . . Bi, P. (2020). Daily Temperature and Bacillary Dysentery: Estimated Effects, Attributable Risks, and Future Disease Burden in 316 Cities. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(5), 57008.

3. Wondmagegn, B. Y., Xiang, J., Dear, K., Williams, S., Hansen, A., Pisaniello, D., . . . Bi, P. (2021). Impact of heatwave intensity using excess heat factor on emergency department presentations and related healthcare costs in Adelaide, South Australia. Science of the Total Environment, 781, 146815-1-146815-9. 

4. Borg, M. A., & Bi, P. (2020). The impact of climate change on kidney health. Nature Reviews Nephrology, 17(5), 294-295

5. Hansen, A., Bi, P., Nitschke, M., Ryan, P., Pisaniello, D., & Tucker, G. (2008). The effect of heatwaves on mental health in a temperate Australian city. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(10), 1369-1375.