Safeguarding California: Public Health Sector Implementation Action Plan

Safeguarding California: Implementation Action Plans is a series of progress reports, by sector, describing how the state government is responding to the recommendations from California’s climate adaptation plan -  2014 Safeguarding California: Reducing Climate Risk, and implementing the adaptation strategies.

Developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), this implementation plan provides a review of major climate related health vulnerabilities across the state, highlights actions taken by CDPH since the release of Safeguarding California to address these vulnerabilities, and outlines current and proposed high priority initiatives.

The plan presents “actions needed for improved readiness for climate-related public health risks” in three priority areas as developed and categorized in Safeguarding California:

  • Improving Capacity of Communities to Prepare, Respond, and Recover from Climate-Related Health Risks
  • Better Understanding of Climate Impacts on Public Health
  • Information Sharing and Education

The plan looks closely at increased health risks to frontline communities, with the compounding effects of climate change. According to the report, the most significant risks are extreme heat and air quality (i.e. wildfire smoke, ozone, particulate matter, air pollutants, and allergens), as well as extreme prolonged drought and 

intermittent years of extreme precipitation such as El Niño years that can cause coastal and riverine flooding.

Social equity is addressed throughout the plan and emphasized in recommended actions such as: 

  • Collaborate with CAL OES and the Emergency Preparedness Office of CDPH to support cities and counties to incorporate climate, health, and equity considerations in their updates to local Hazard Mitigation Plans and General Plan Safety Elements
  • Include health, equity, and resilience in state funding opportunities

Appendix B: '
Current Actions' contains a table of current adaptation actions for the health sector underway by state agencies, which are also presented according to these three categories.

CDPH has identified additional actions where State leadership is needed to fill current gaps in the implementation of California’s adaptation strategy - which can be found in the "Gaps in Current Efforts and Recommendations for Action" section.

The Public Health sector is engaged in multiple cross-sector initiatives and, according to the report, there is currently no centralized process for monitoring and evaluating all projects. In order to track progress toward implementing Safeguarding California and to improve resilience, CDPH suggests that two categories of indicators need to be measured, on as local of a scale as possible:

• Indicators of vulnerability or resilience

• Indicators of actions taken and capacity built

Appendix C: 'Metrics for Climate Change and Resilience Monitoring' is a chart that compares metrics from a sample of the screening methods used to assess vulnerability and resilience to environmental exposures - including climate change. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) publication, Equity in Building Resilience in Adaptation Planningoffers metrics for preexisting vulnerabilities, assets that shape a healthy community, and indicators of actions taken to increase resilience - some of which are included here.


Publication Date: March 2016

Related Organizations:

  • California Department of Public Health

Related Resources:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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