Read: OCCHE Makes Several Announcements in Conjunction with United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28)
(Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) announced the release of a Climate Change and Health Equity Strategy Supplement, outlining the work of agencies across the Department to support resilience and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the U.S. health and human services sectors. The delegation also announced planned collaboration between federal health systems on clinical decarbonization, provided an update on the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge and described ongoing collaboration with the National Health Service (NHS) of England and other nations.
Watch: OCCHE Hosts Information Session for Catalytic Program on IRA – and Sets Dates for Program Launch in 2024
OCCHE hosted an information session on November 30th to describe the plans for its “catalytic program” to support health care providers and especially safety-net organizations in taking advantage of the tax credits, grants and other supports made available by the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). A recording of the session is available here, as are more details about the program’s dates. OCCHE’s planned initiative will occur through collaboration with federal partners including the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy and will feature national webinars as well as breakout sessions by provider type to help organizations assess their needs and opportunities.
Read and Explore: OCCHE Announces Catalytic Program on IRA in Association with White House Event
On Friday October 20th, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine announced that OCCHE will be launching a “catalytic program” early in 2024 to support health care providers and especially safety-net organizations in taking advantage of the tax credits, grants and other supports made available by the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Speaking at a White House Roundtable, Admiral Levine noted that this legislation creates unprecedented opportunities for health sector organizations to make investments in clean energy, building efficiency, infrastructure resilience and more. OCCHE’s planned initiative will occur through collaboration with federal partners including the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy and will feature national webinars as well as breakout sessions by provider type to help organizations assess their needs and opportunities. More details on the initiative will be provided during a November 30th information session.
Read and Explore: OCCHE and ASPR Launch Climate and Health Outlook Portal
OCCHE collaborated with ASPR’s Geospatial Integration, Analysis, and Visualization (GIAV) Branch to release a new tool called the Climate and Health Outlook Portal, which maps county-level extreme heat, wildfire, and drought forecast data for the current month, as well as county-level data on individual risk factors that may make people more vulnerable to negative health outcomes from these hazards. More information on the Climate and Health Outlook Portal is available here.
Read and Explore: HHS and NHTSA Launch National Dashboard to Track Heat-Related Illness
OCCHE collaborated with NHTSA to release a new tool called the EMS HeatTracker, which maps local emergency medical services (EMS) responses to heat-related illness across the country. More information on the EMS HeatTracker is available here.
Read: HHS Blog on Climate-Related Hazards and the Importance of Resiliency
Can you remember a summer with more disruption from extreme weather events than this one? Whether we are staying indoors to protect ourselves from wildfire smoke, evacuating to avoid flooding, or losing power thanks to severe heatwaves, much of the country is directly experiencing more frequent and more severe climate change impacts than ever before. The repeated stories in the news this summer have been sobering.
The bad news is that we know these events will continue as climate change accelerates. The good news is that action now can still prevent the worst impacts of climate change from occurring, and much of that action can be accelerated by the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Learn more in OCCHE’s latest blog.
Read: OCCHE’s Key Considerations for Developing a Climate Resilience Plan for Healthcare Organizations
OCCHE developed this resource to explain the essential elements of climate resilience plans for healthcare facilities. It is intended to provide general guidance for healthcare leaders and other stakeholders engaged in healthcare climate resilience planning.
Read: OCCHE’s Referral Guide for Health Professionals: Protecting Vulnerable Patient Populations from Climate Hazards
OCCHE recently released a Referral Guide intended to inform education and referrals in clinical settings for patients who are vulnerable to climate change’s health impacts, and can be used by health and human services providers to address climate-related threats to their clients’ well-being.
Read: OCCHE’s Earth Day Announcements
Learn about OCCHE’s Earth Day 2023 announcements, including new resources and an update on the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge.
Read: OCCHE’s Quickfinder for Leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act for the Health Sector
The Quickfinder explores how the landmark law’s billions of dollars in grants, loan programs, and tax credits can help transform the industry by significantly increasing access to funds that will create resilient and renewable infrastructure.
Sign: The White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge Has Reopened
Health sector organizations can commit to emissions reduction and climate resilience goals by filling out this form and sending it to OCCHE@HHS.GOV. More information is available here. Going forward, organizations can sign the Pledge at any time. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by April 12 will be recognized in an Earth Day announcement. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by November 1 will be recognized in an announcement around the time of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
Read and Watch: OCCHE’s Health Sector Resource Hub and Webinar Series
Visit OCCHE’s Health Sector Resource Hub to explore supports for health sector organizations taking the critical steps necessary to become resilient to climate threats and reduce emissions. These resources are also explained on OCCHE’s webinar series, in which experts from across the government answer questions regarding their programs. In 2023, the series will focus on the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides billions of dollars in grants, loan programs, and other investments. New sessions will be announced soon.
Read: HHS Shares Health Sector Emissions Reduction and Climate Resilience Announcements at COP27
(Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt) – A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delegation to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) announced that more than 100 health care organizations have signed the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge to meet bold targets for emissions reduction and climate resilience. The delegation also described plans to collaborate with the National Health Service (NHS) of England on developing proposals for aligned procurement requirements as part of a larger update on progress and future plans.
Read: HHS History and the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity
Check out the new blog post from OCCHE staff exploring public health history and HHS’ responsibility to safeguard the public from climate change, including the inequities it exacerbates. The blog starts with the 19th century “Great Sanitary Awakening” and follows the evolution of public health and HHS to present-day. Climate change affects everyone's health in different ways. Just as unsanitary urban settings at the turn of the 20th century primarily affected low-income and immigrant communities, climate change likewise often hurts disadvantaged groups most.
Read: Climate and Health Outlook for March 2023
Check out the latest edition for a seasonal outlook for the climate-related health hazards of wildfire and drought as well as pollen activity. The Outlook is an effort to inform health professionals and the public on how our health may be affected in the coming months by climate events and provide resources to take proactive action.
Read: Year One of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity
It has been one year since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) to protect people in America from the health hazards associated with climate change. In that time, OCCHE has partnered with other countries on shared goals, launched a voluntary pledge and associated webinar series on supports for U.S. health sector resilience and decarbonization, launched the Climate and Health Outlook linking seasonal forecasting to health effects, established the Office of Environmental Justice, and so much more. Check out a recent blog from our staff about the milestones OCCHE has reached in our first year and where we hope to go to next!
Watch: HHS Earth Day 2022 Speaker Series
Climate Change Basics – Future Scenarios, Impacts and Adaptation | Tuesday, April 19, 2022
The webinar intends to explain the basics of climate change, it’s occurrence and causes. It is imperative to understand the scale and intensity of impacts and the session will explore this through examples. It will introduce the data, tools, and knowledge needed to manage climate-related risks and opportunities. This webinar will recognize the main components relevant to climate change decision making while summarizing different types of climate information across time scales. We will also explain how climate projections and sectoral models (e.g., crop models) support adaptation planning and mitigation options.
Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she heads the Climate Impacts Group. She is Co-Chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), a body of experts convened by the mayor to advise the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. She co-led the Metropolitan East Coast Regional Assessment of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She was a Coordinating Lead Author of Working Group II for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She is Co-Director of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), Co-Editor of the First and Second UCCRN Assessment Reports on Climate Change and Cities (ARC3)
Sanketa Kadam is a research assistant at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, she works in the Climate Impacts Group. She has a Masters in Climate and Society from Columbia University. Her research expertise includes climate modelling, impact modelling for decision making and utilizing remote sensing data for adaptation. Her work encompasses studying climate variability and its impacts on agricultural food systems, urban systems, and ecosystems.
Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Resilience | Wednesday, April 20, 2022
The impacts of climate change are being felt in every U.S. state, territory, community and sector, and will continue to be felt even more so in the future. Making matters more urgent, we have a narrow window of time to avoid costly, deadly, and irreversible future climate impacts. So what are we doing about it? This talk will highlight not only climate change-related impacts across the United States and world but highlight ongoing activities and partnerships involving NOAA to help build climate resilience to protect lives, lifestyles and livelihoods. Because addressing climate change goes beyond just monitoring it.
Tom Di Liberto is a climate scientist and award-winning science communicator working as a contractor with CollabraLink at NOAA’s Climate Program Office as the staff climatologist for NOAA’s Climate.gov. He is a science writer, communication strategist, and social media manager at Climate.gov, and has also served as emcee of the Department of State’s U.S. Center at the United Nations climate change conferences COP21, COP22, and, most recently, COP26, helping to lead the U.S. government’s public outreach and diplomacy space.
Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS | Thursday, April 21, 2022
Climate change poses current and increasing threats to human health. As the climate continues to warm, the risks to human health will grow, exacerbating existing health threats and creating new public health challenges. Many disadvantaged communities currently bear the brunt of climate-induced risks from extreme heat, poor air quality, flooding, extreme weather events, and vector borne diseases. While the impacts of climate change will be felt by all Americans, they will be deeper and longer lasting among the poor, people of color and other populations. This webinar will focus on how HHS is doing their part to address climate change related health disparities, mitigate its effects, and how they are laying the groundwork for the future in climate change and health equity.
Dr. Balbus is the Interim Director of the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity within OASH. A physician and public health professional with over 25 years of experience working on the health implications of climate change, Dr. Balbus has served as HHS Principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program and co-chair of the working group on Climate Change and Human Health for the U.S. Global Change Research Program since he joined the federal government in 2009. Before coming over to the new Office, Dr. Balbus served as Senior Advisor for Public Health to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Read: “After COP26 — Putting Health and Equity at the Center of the Climate Movement” in NEJM
The New England Journal of Medicine published a Perspective authored by Admiral Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, Arsenio Mataka, HHS Senior Advisor on Climate Change and Health Equity, the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) Interim Director John Balbus and OCCHE Senior Advisor Joe McCannon titled “After COP26 — Putting Health and Equity at the Center of the Climate Movement.” The Perspective describes how our Office of Climate Change and Health Equity is approaching the health threats associated with climate change, especially in the most high-risk communities.