Rhode Island 2015 Climate Change and Health Resiliency Report
The Rhode Island Department of Health’s Climate Change and Health Resiliency Report identifies the climate change impacts on public health in Rhode Island, and offers strategies that can strengthen the effectiveness of public health management for climate impacts in the state. The report describes the threats that climate change poses to the state and its vulnerable populations, and details ongoing and planned best practices to counter these threats and protect vulnerable groups. The Department of Health Climate Change Program (HEALTH) has implemented climate adaptation projects that are highlighted throughout the report, along with Rhode Island case studies, and examples of best practices from across the country.
The report contains sections for each of seven focal climate and health impacts faced in Rhode Island: heat, air quality, extreme weather, water quality, vibrio, vector-borne disease and mental health. (Vibrio is a group of marine bacteria found naturally in coastal waters. In RI, Vibrio strains are proliferating in warmer waters - and have the potential to cause disease when infected shellfish are harvested and eaten.) Each report section delineates the primary health impacts, climate projections, respective vulnerable populations, best practices, current projects, and next steps.
A number of projects in Rhode Island are dedicated to managing the impacts of increasing high temperatures, extreme heat events, and storm and disaster risk on vulnerable populations. Some ongoing projects include:
In partnership with the ProvPlan, HEALTH’s Climate Change Program conducted a statewide vulnerability assessment to examine various demographic, social, and environmental factors. The study used 2010 Census data to include the following:
- Elderly Population
- Poverty and Median Household Income
- Vehicle Access
- Educational Attainment
- Immigrant Populations
- Linguistic Isolation
- Percent of Children with an Asthma Claim
- Average Daily Heat related hospital admissions
- Flood zones
ProvPlan developed a Social Vulnerability Index for the project, applying a numerical score to each category to help identify which Census tracts many be more vulnerable than others.
Funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Rhode Island Department of Health Climate Change Program is developing a unified climate and health adaptation strategy for Rhode Island based on the best available science and the national CDC Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Program. The Program convenes experts and resources to better understand potential climate changes in Rhode Island, predict and monitor health effects; is working to identify the populations most vulnerable to climate change; and is developing programs to mitigate the public health impact of climate change.
Publication Date: 2015
- Rhode Island Department of Health
- Best practice
- Case study
- Air quality
- Air temperature
- Extreme storms and hurricanes
- Heat waves
- Precipitation changes
- Sea-level rise
- Water quality
- Water temperatures