What’s New?

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 November – January 2023

Check out the latest edition for a retrospective look at how heat and drought affected the U.S. in the summer of 2022.

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: Webinar Series: Accelerating Healthcare Sector Action on Climate Change and Health Equity

The Accelerating Healthcare Sector Action on Climate Change and Health Equity webinar series explores available government supports to assist healthcare stakeholders in the important work of climate resilience and emissions reduction. The series features webinars on topics including financing resources available to support facility investments in sustainable infrastructure development and renewables and tools to support emergency preparedness and response. Videos of each session are posted online after the event.

Read: Federal Resources to Support Emissions Reduction and Climate Resilience for Healthcare Stakeholders

OCCHE produced this compendium of federal resources that may assist healthcare stakeholders in emissions reduction and climate change adaptation.

Watch: HHS Earth Day 2022 Speaker Series

Climate Change Basics – Future Scenarios, Impacts and Adaptation | Tuesday, April 19, 2022 

View event details for the Climate Change Basics webinar

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

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

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

View event details for Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Resilience

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

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

View event details for the Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS webinar

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

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

Brain shape made out of leaves

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.

Content created by Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)
Content last reviewed