Are We Ready? Preparing for the Public Health Challenges of Climate Change

In order to better understand the current state of preparedness for the health effects of climate change, the Environmental Defense Fund collaborated with the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) and George Mason University to conduct a survey of local health departments from around the country. The survey asked respondents to discuss their perception of climate-related health risks and the status and adequacy of their departments' activities in response to these risks. It also asked respondents to identify the regulatory roles they perform, the programs in place that address policies and activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the additional resources needed to allow their departments to deal more effectively with climate change as a public health issue.

The survey found health department directors believe that climate change will make their job more difficult on many levels. These directors also feel that a lack of human and financial resources is a key constraint to incorporating climate change into public health preparedness. The survey further reveals concerns about availability of expertise on climate change health impacts within the public health community and the level of planning and capacity building initiated to respond to this issue. Recommended actions by the federal government as well as the public health and medical communities are synthesized in the final chapter of this report. 

Publication Date: 2008

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • John Balbus
  • Kristie L. Ebi
  • Lauren Finzer
  • Catherine Malina
  • Amy Chadwick
  • Dennis McBride
  • Michelle Chuk
  • Ed Maibach

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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