Climate change affects public health at many levels, and local health departments play a vital role in helping communities prepare for and address the health effects of climate change. As the climate continues to change communities will be susceptible to a number of health threats, including increased exposure to vector-borne and infectious diseases, worsening air quality and pollution levels, food shortages, and lack of access to safe drinking water. NACCHO believes, with the necessary resources, local health departments are uniquely positioned to respond to these health impacts and protect the public's health.
NACCHO interviewed 11 local health departments to better understand how city and county health departments are preparing for the health impacts of climate change. This project:
- Highlights local efforts to prepare for and build resiliency to the health impacts of climate change;
- Shares these success stories to support new and ongoing initiatives in other local health departments;
- Identifies best practices;
- Provides real-world case studies; and
- Highlights only a few of the many departments actively engaged in climate change efforts.
NACCHO invites local health departments to submit stories that highlight and showcase local climate change work. The Climate Change Story Series is used to advocate for local health departments, share information with federal partners and other local health departments, and raise awareness of the important work of public health professionals.
NACCHO University, NACCHO’s new online learning platform, provides courses to help local health department staff develop their public health knowledge and competencies. The Climate Change and Public Health course explores the relationship between climate change and public health. Students will be able to do the following upon completion of the course:
- Define climate change;
- Describe the ways that climate change impacts public health; and
- Describe climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the local health department roles in each
The NACCHO Global Climate Change Workgroup is committed to providing leadership and resources to support local health department climate change efforts. The workgroup is comprised of local health officials, environmental health professionals, environmental health directors, and subject matter experts who are interested in enhancing climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and practices.
The workgroup holds at least one in-person meeting (pending funding), monthly conference calls, and work in between meetings. In addition, the workgroup reviews documents and participates in judging model practice applications throughout the year. Appointment to the workgroup is for a two-year term with an option for reappointment to a second two-year term. Message Chelsea Gridley-Smith for more information.
Click below to access NACCHO's policy statements regarding climate change and other public health issues.
Additional resources addressing the health impacts of climate change and what local health departments are doing and can do are listed below.
APHA Climate Change Webinars
- Climate Changes Health: Clean Energy Changes Climate (30 Mar 2017)
- Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications and Guidance (29 Mar 2017)
- Climate Justice Changes Health: Local, Tribal, Global and Generational (27 Feb 2017)
- Making the Connection: Climate Changes Mental Health (29 Jun 2016)
- Changing Climate through Healthy Community Design and Transportation (7 Jun 2016)
- Climate Changes Children's Health (26 May 2016)
- Climate Changes Allergies and Asthma (9 May 2016)
- Climate Changes Health: Tools to Communicate the Problem (28 Apr 2016)
- Older APHA Webinars (2010-2015)
- An Overview of Climate Change Science and Impacts on Human Health
- A Look at U.S. Regional Impacts of Climate Change on Health
- The Public Health Role in State and Local Climate Action Plans
- Climate Change: Communicating the Public Health Imperative
- An Eye Toward Public Health Adaptation Strategy
- Looking ahead: Advancing the Public Health Response to Climate Change
- A Look at State and Local Climate Action Planning
- A Look at State and Local Practice in Developing Vulnerability and Needs Assessments
- A Look at State and Local Public Health Adaptation Tools
- CDC's Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework
- Public Health Planning and Climate Change: Lessons from Superstorm Sandy
- Integrating Climate Change and Public Health Preparedness