U.S. HHS 2017 Environmental Justice Implementation Progress Report

This report summarizes the progress of activities outlined in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2012 Environmental Justice Strategy, which complies with Executive Order 12898Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (Clinton, 1994). The report identifies priority focus areas for HHS, one of which is climate change. The agency's accomplishments to advance the 2012 Strategy as of 2016 are detailed, including the progress status of 37 actions related to environmental justice that HHS committed to in 2012.

The four priority areas of focus for the strategic update include climate change, community capacity, data and tools, and funding opportunities. Climate change is recognized to have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations.  HHS is committed to addressing climate justice and building community resilience through expanding and strengthening educational outreach, community partnerships, and emergency response systems.

This report shows that of the 37 actions outlined in the 2012 Strategy, 30 actions are either “complete” or have had “substantial progress,” three have achieved “some progress,” and four are deemed “inactive.” Examples of climate change related actions considered complete, or where HHS has made substantial progress include directives to:

  • Develop guidance on identifying the spatial and temporal extent of climate and extreme weather vulnerability and risk within communities containing existing environmental inequalities.
  • Develop guidance on how state, local, territorial, and tribal public health departments can adopt policies and programs that minimize climate-related health impacts among vulnerable populations, including minority and low-income populations and Indian tribes with disproportionately high and adverse environmental exposures.
  • Build community resilience and sustainable, stronger health and emergency response systems in at-risk populations with disproportionately high and adverse environmental exposures to prevent or reduce emerging health threats and chronic health problems.
  • Strengthen community partnerships, in particular among vulnerable populations, to organize adaptation measures to prevent health impacts of climate change at the local level.

The report also highlights that in 2016 HHS agencies contributed to the U.S. Global Change Research Program report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment - a comprehensive assessment of health impacts from climate change which includes an examination of differential risk and exposure to climate change among different populations.


Publication Date: January 2017

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Progress report

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