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Your Environment. Your Health.

Climate Change and Health

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

June 30, 2016

Climate Change and Health

Climate change – through a wide variety of exposure pathways, including heat waves, severe flooding and droughts, and other extreme events – exacerbates existing threats to health and wellbeing and prompts a call for enhanced resilience measures for both individuals and communities. Resilience has an individual dimension, as a person’s physical and mental health status, educational level, and other social determinants influence his/her ability to respond effectively to climate change stressors. Resilience also has a communal dimension, as governance, social capital, physical infrastructure, planning, and preparedness impact how a community will fare when stressed or shocked by climate change, particularly extreme events. This webinar featured a discussion by climate change experts on new tools and approaches for enhancing both individual and community resilience.



John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H.

John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., serves as a senior advisor to NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum on public health issues and as NIEHS liaison to its external constituencies, stakeholders, and advocacy groups. He also leads the institute’s efforts on climate change and human health. In this capacity, he serves as the Department of Health and Human Services principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, for which he also co-chairs the Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health. His background combines training and experience in clinical medicine with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, and risk sciences. He has authored studies and lectures on global climate change and health, transportation-related air pollution, the toxic effects of chemicals, and regulatory approaches to protecting susceptible subpopulations.

Bob Doppelt, M.S.

Bob Doppelt, M.S., is Executive Director of The Resource Innovation Group, a non-partisan social science-based sustainability and global climate change education, research, and technical assistance organization affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Communities at Willamette University, where he is also a Senior Fellow. In addition, Bob is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon, where he teaches systems thinking and global warming policy. Bob also coordinates the International Transformational Resilience Coalition, a network of over 200 mental health, trauma, resilience, and climate change practitioners who promote policies and programs to build personal and psychosocial resilience for climate change.

Jeffrey Stiefel, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Stiefel, Ph.D., is the Executive Coordinator for Climate Change and Health Resilience within the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs – Health Threats Resilience Division. In this role, he provides guidance and direction for the development of a National Community Health Resilience Framework. The Framework will coordinate and integrate our Nation's Community Health resilience activities in cooperation with federal, state, local, and tribal partners, as well as leaders within the private sector, educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

Cynthia Comerford, M.A.

Cynthia Comerford, M.A. manages policy and planning at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In this capacity, she is also the Director of the Health Department’s Climate and Health Program and Health Impact Assessment Program. Her efforts focus on creating healthy and equitable cities, and she has extensive experience in public health, climate change, community design, transportation, healthy housing, human trafficking, and emergency planning. Her work has been recognized by The White House and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and was presented at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as concrete urban solutions that can be scaled and replicated across the world.

For More Information

Climate and Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
CDC’s Climate and Health Program is helping state and city health departments prepare for the specific health impacts of climate change that their communities will face.

Community Health Resilience Initiative
The Community Health Resilience Initiative (CHRI) is a collaborative project, involving both public- and private-sector partners, to strengthen and enhance community health resilience across the Nation. The goal of the Initiative is to develop an operational resource guide and toolkit for those with an interest in community health resilience and preparedness to assure holistic public health and safety.

San Francisco Climate & Health Profile
The San Francisco Climate & Health Profile is a report that links climate change projections with their associated health outcomes and identifies populations and locations most vulnerable to those outcomes. The goal of the Profile is to support local public health climate adaptation efforts and to advance urban health and environmental justice in the climate and health field.

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment
Climate change is a significant threat to the health of the American people. This scientific assessment examines how climate change is already affecting human health and the changes that may occur in the future.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit is a website designed to help people find and use tools, information, and subject matter expertise to build climate resilience. The Toolkit offers information from all across the U.S. federal government in one easy-to-use location.

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