New York State Department of Health Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) in New York State

In June 2015, The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) undertook a climate and health adaptation planning process known as BRACE (Building Resilience Against Climate Effects), a result of a grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010. The creation of this report fulfills the first of five steps of the CDC’s BRACE framework - to forecast climate impacts and assess vulnerabilities. The report reviews an assessment of the projected climate-related public health impacts in New York, and provides public health resilience strategies and recommendations for NYSDOH.

The report summarizes climate trends and future projections for the Northeastern United States, with a specific focus on the state of New York. The health impacts of climate change in New York are outlined, and the public health threat posed by each impact in the context of New York’s specific climate projections is further assessed. The future climate projections for New York include a significant increase in the annual mean temperature and in annual precipitation, as well as more frequent downpours and droughts.

The report prioritizes and describes the following specific New York climate-related public health impacts with great detail:

  • Health Impacts from Precipitation Extremes
  • Heat-related Illness
  • Illnesses Related to Air Pollution
  • Allergies
  • Vector-borne Disease
  • Food- and Water-borne Disease
  • Food Security

This information is coupled with the Climate and Health Stakeholder Needs Assessments to understand where the most pressing needs are for adapting to climate-related health impacts.

Section four, Vulnerable Populations, describes vulnerable groups that the NYSDOH will target when implementing climate adaptation efforts. The NYSDOH understands that some populations are more vulnerable to climate-related health impacts than other groups, whether it is due to demographic factors, socioeconomic status, physiological condition, place or occupation. The populations the department identified include: Older adults, Children, New Yorkers of low socioeconomic status, Ethnic and Racial minorities, Tribal populations, New Yorkers who experience social isolation, New Yorkers who are homeless, New Yorkers with chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease), New Yorkers with mental illness, Pregnant women, New Yorkers living in flood-prone areas or along the coast, New Yorkers who rely on private well water and small water systems, and Outdoor workers.

 

The NYSDOH is taking these assessments on vulnerable populations into consideration when studying climate and health indicators, and transforming those findings into recommendations for interventions. This adaptation planning is also informed by state reports, as well as the broad public collection of climate and health science literature.

The report concludes with the recognition that further analysis on New York climate regions, methods for stronger surveillance, use of climate models, and implementation of interventions are necessary to improve climate-related health impacts in New York. The NYSDOH outlines the need for present and future collaborations with stakeholders and existing state initiatives, as well as providing a climate and health strategic map for implementation.

 

Publication Date: June 2015

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Health

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  • Assessment

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