Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative’s (BARHII) Climate Change Quick Guides

To build the capacity of local health departments, the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Built Environment Committee (BEC) developed five short Climate Change Quick Guides that summarize the intersections between and importance of action on climate change, public health, and equity. The guides help readers understand: how climate change will affect public health, how climate change actions can benefit the environment and public health, how public health departments can participate in climate action planning, and the different action items that public health departments can take to support climate adaptation efforts at all levels of government.

This resource was featured in the November 16, 2018, ASAP Newsletter.

"The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative has 5 Quick Guides on Climate Change & Public Health. ... Read this article from the APHA newswire on Accessing environmental healthservices: ‘This is community engagement 101’ and learn more about an environment and public health collaboration with the American Planning Association called Plans4Health." 

Each Quick Guide contains relevant definitions and key topics based on the subject of the guide. The 5 Quick Guides cover the following topics:

Guide 01: Climate Change: What’s Public Health Got to Do With It - This Guide provides an overview of climate change and how climate change will affect public health. A table provides an overview of climate change effects (e.g., increasing incidence of extreme heat, air pollution, and extreme rainfall and floods) on how those changes will impact public health.

Guide 02: Health and Equity Co-Benefits of Addressing Climate Change - This Guide summarizes how different climate change responses can benefit public health and equity and how local decisions about transportation modes, housing, waste, water and energy can affect health outcomes and health inequities.  The Guide spotlights actions in Sonoma County to make infrastructure improvements around county schools to reduce vehicle usage and improve other modes of travel, like walking. The Guide provides a table of how strategies to address climate change in different sectors (transportation, land use, food production, and energy) can affect public health outcomes.


The Climate Change Quick Guides describe the disproportionate effect that climate change will have on some communities and how those effects will compound existing health inequities. The guides also describe how policies to address climate change can be designed to maximize public health and environmental benefits for frontline communities.


Guide 03: Climate Change and Health Equity - This Guide describes how existing health inequities will make some communities more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and provides strategies for designing climate policies that will address inequities (such as addressing health inequities in readiness planning, addressing displacement, and making investments in transit, weatherization, shade trees and green spaces in low-income communities). This Guide also describes how public health officials can be a resource in climate resilience planning and engagement. It includes a spotlight on the links between climate change and public impacts through a summary of the challenges faced in West Oakland due to disinvestment, pollution, and increasing risks of flooding and extreme heat.

Guide 04: How Public Health Can Address Climate Change - This Guide describes the roles that public health professionals can plan in helping to address climate change, including by providing research, helping with education and outreach to vulnerable communities, promoting healthy policies in climate planning, and integrating climate change and health in programs. The Guide spotlights efforts in Santa Clara County on active transportation and local food initiatives and efforts in San Francisco to identify populations at risk of heat waves.  

Guide 05: Getting Involved in Climate Change Action Planning - This Guide describes how public health professionals can help to inform adaptation policies and climate action planning at the local, regional, state and federal levels.


BARHII is a coalition of eleven public health departments in the San Francisco Bay Area of California that work to incorporate principles of health equity into land use and transportation planning and actively focuses on adaptation planning in for the Bay Area communities. The coalition includes public health departments in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma Counties and the City of Berkley.

Publication Date: June 2014

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