North Carolina Climate and Health Profile: Building Resilience Against Climate Effects

North Carolina is one of 16 states who have been funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) grant program since 2010. As part of the BRACE framework, this Climate and Health Profile report describes the leading climate-related risks and their associated public health impacts in the state.

The report opens with the history of engagement of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with climate and health, which to some degree has been active for decades. For example, the agency has led efforts to deal with extreme heat through Operation Fan Heat Relief since 1986, distributing fans and air conditioning units to adults with disabilities and those over the age of 60 during the summer months. Since 2010, the Department's Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) has managed the BRACE program in North Carolina. During this period, branch staff have conducted health assessments on how weather and climate impact human health and disease.

The majority of the profile report focuses on the health effects of North Carolina residents due to the following climate scenarios: increased drought, increased and more intense precipitation, heat waves, hurricanes, and sea-level inundation. Some of the major adverse outcomes are detailed, including:

  • water quality and water supply issues
  • vector-borne disease and pests
  • air quality effects on respiratory health
  • heat related injuries (from extreme weather taking out AC, heat waves)
  • impacts on health services infrastructure
  • mental health issues
  • cardiovascular disease and stroke. 

The Vulnerability and Health/Hazard Assessment included provides an overview of health and vulnerability data as recorded for the state in the “North Carolina Climate-Health Scorecard.”  The scorecard is a method and prioritization matrix which includes scoring data using elements of burden, urgency, vulnerability, and strength of evidence, for each health impact.

This vulnerability and health hazard assessment data is used to prioritize OEEB grant activities. For example, the highest scoring areas are prioritized for grant work, and in 2012, were used to prioritize the strategies and adaptations during the strategic planning process.

 

The Climate-Ready NC program is part of a national public health effort to anticipate and prepare for human health effects related to global and local climate change. Climate-Ready NC is supported by the Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Climate and Health program.

 

 

 

 

 

Publication Date: 2015

Related Organizations:

  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

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  • Assessment

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