Big City Health Department Engagement in Climate Change and Health Equity Action
There is compelling scientific evidence that the Earth’s climate system is changing, and human activity is the primary cause (NASA, 2018). Many of the observed changes in the climate system are causing and expected to continue to cause a range of environmental and health impacts among all populations in the United States (U.S.) (NIH, 2017). These environmental and health impacts can differ by local and regional scales (USGCRP, 2016). In addition, there are populations who are more likely to experience disproportionate, multiple, and complex risks to their health and well-being due to a lower capacity to prepare, cope, and recover from climatic and non-climatic stressors (USGCRP, 2016).
The primary objective of this study was to identify how LHDs are broadening the scope of their public health practice to ameliorate the health impacts of climate change. By gaining a better understanding of the approaches that the local public health sector is currently using to address this public health issue, as well as the barriers and facilitators that they face doing this work, upstream action strategies or interventions can be developed and tailored to help similar LHDs reduce the magnitude of climate change and its impacts, while promoting health and well-being. In addition, this study’s data findings are relevant, because of the growing interest in the impact of climate change on human health, and its link to factors such as the environment, policy, history, economics, and culture (Bell, M., Greenberg, M.R., 2018).