Ready for Change : Preparing Public Health Agencies for the Impacts of Climate Change

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Title: Ready for Change : Preparing Public Health Agencies for the Impacts of Climate Change
Author: Climate Leadership Initiative; Oregon Coalition of Local Health Officials
Abstract: Global climate change poses a significant and emerging threat to public health.1 Drought, heat waves, flooding, storm damage and disease are all exacerbated by climate change. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of deaths annually have been directly linked to the changing climate. It is also indirectly affecting the health of a comparable number of people each year. With programs that reach across a variety of sectors and populations, the public health community can play a pivotal role in preparing communities to cope with the serious and urgent health consequences of climate change. For instance, increased instances of heat illness, spread of vector- and water-borne disease, and heightened mental health stresses. Public health agencies can also set an example for their community by actively reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their facilities and operations that contribute to changes in the global climate. In 2008, the University of Oregon’s Climate Leadership Initiative and the Oregon Coalition of Local Health Officials surveyed Oregon public health departments on their knowledge of climate change, the impacts on public health, actions being taken to prepare for these impacts, and resource needs to take action. Many respondents expressed an interest in taking action to prepare their departments and communities for climate change, but felt they did not have the knowledge, tools, financial or staffing capacity, or organizational commitment to do so. This manual is a response to those concerns. It provides guidance on how to prioritize and implement the operational changes that allow public agencies to prepare their employees and communities for climate change. Additionally, it provides guidance about how to demonstrate and communicate a commitment to reducing risks and building resilience.
Description: 43 p. "A Climate Masters Guide for the Public Health Sector."
Date: 2010-05

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