The SCHSAC Climate Change Adaptation Workgroup will:
- review available science and literature on climate change and public health,
- develop and review results from a survey of local public health departments' ability to address climate change, and
- make recommendations on next steps for strategic planning for climate change.
Scientific consensus holds that the global climate is changing with rising surface temperatures, melting ice and snow, rising sea levels, and increasing climate variability (IPCC 2007; CDC 2008). These global phenomena will likely translate into wide fluctuations in climate variables (e.g., temperature, precipitation) at regional and local levels in the US. Changing climatic conditions are expected to have substantial direct and indirect impacts on public health, including increases in morbidity and mortality attributed to extreme heat events (e.g., heat waves), extreme weather events (e.g., floods, hurricanes), and air pollution, and changes in incidence of vector-borne diseases and other infectious diseases. Uncertainty remains regarding the rate at which these impacts will occur, but climate change has the potential to significantly affect human health.
In 2009 MDH received funding from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to develop an MDH Strategic Plan for Adapting to Climate Change. The strategic plan focused primarily on the state health department and did not address local public health. In 2010 MDH received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to facilitate strategic planning for climate change at the local level, specifically focusing on the local public health system.
A SCHSAC workgroup will be convened consisting of SCHSAC members and local public health department representatives. The workgroup will be staffed by MDH and will begin meeting in summer 2011.
- Harlan Madsen, Kandiyohi
- Karen Swenson, Brown-Nicollet
- David Benson, Nobles-Rock
- Ted Seifert, Goodhue
- Bill Groskreutz, Faribault-Martin
- Ewald Peterson, Sherburne
- Todd Monson, Hennepin
- Susan Morris, Isanti-Mille Lacs
- RaeAnn Mayer, North Country
- Renee Frauendienst, Stearns
- Jim Skoog, Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis
The MDH Division of Environmental Health, Environmental Impacts Assessment Unit, will serve as the primary resource for this work. Additional assistance will be provided by the Office of Performance Improvement.
- Kelly Muellman, Division of Environmental Health
- Kristin Raab, Division of Environmental Health
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Attn: Non-MDH link]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Climate and Health Program [Attn: Non-MDH link]