San Francisco Climate and Health Adaptation Framework 2017

Developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), the Climate and Health Adaptation Framework is a compendium of the SFDPH’s 2010 Climate and Health Program’s work over the last several years. The framework identifies strategies to engage San Francisco community stakeholders on creating solutions to reduce health disparities and climate health impacts. The primary goals of the framework are to propose strategies to reduce the health burden of climate change, improve health equity, propose draft indicators to measure the severity of climate-related health risks and collaborate with stakeholders on health-related climate challenges. The framework provides guidelines for the SFDPH to pursue next steps in developing new partnerships, adaptation strategies, as well as the creation of new SFDPH infrastructure and operations.

The framework is divided into three sections:

  • Review of Vulnerability Assessments
  • Climate Health Risks and Responses
  • Assessment of Public Health Preparedness

SFDPH recognizes that climate change will disproportionately impact certain residents depending largely on pre-existing social, political, environmental, or economic inequalities.


Section 4.1, Vulnerable Populations, describes those who are at higher risk to climate impacts in San Francisco including homeless individuals, those at risk of displacement due to housing instability, and elderly residents. The framework utilizes the Community Resiliency Indicator System tool to identify areas of San Francisco most vulnerable.

For example, the tool finds that the Downtown/Civic Center and Chinatown neighborhoods are the most vulnerable to extreme heat - and also are home to the highest percentage of low-income families, large concentrations of elderly residents, non-English speakers, and residents with physical disabilities. The framework identifies 12 strategies to better reach frontline communities, such as developing a curriculum for healthcare service providers about climate change health impacts on at-risk populations.  


The following primary Climate Health Risks for San Francisco are evaluated:

  1. Vulnerable Populations
  2. Extreme Heat
  3. Extreme Storms, Sea Level Rise, and Flood Inundation
  4. Air Pollution
  5. Waterborne Illness
  6. Foodborne Illness
  7. Vector-Borne Disease
  8. Wildfire and Drought

Assigned to each climate risk are public health implications, baseline conditions, adaptation strategies, best practices and interviews, and Climate Risk Health Indicators. The SFDPH provides potential adaptations and interventions to prepare for the health impacts associated with each major risk. The climate risk health indicators measure health impacts and community resiliency associated with climate change. 

The report also provides analysis of current SFDPH preparedness and capacity to implement proposed climate adaptation interventions - and of the vulnerability of San Francisco’s current public health facilities.


Publication Date: 2017

Related Organizations:

  • San Francisco Department of Public Health

Related Resources:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


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