Preparing Health Departments for Climate Change: Podcast with Elena Grossman and Emily York

Preparing Climate Change Podcast

In this episode of JPHMP Direct Talk, authors Elena Grossman and Emily York discuss their article, “Minigrants to Local Health Departments: An Opportunity to Promote Climate Change Preparedness,” published in the March/April 2019 issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.                       Preparing Climate Change Podcast
As temperatures continue to rise in the US, state, local, and tribal health departments are expected to see increases in heat-related illnesses, water-borne diseases, health issues from mold exposure, injuries and fatalities, mental health consequences of being exposed to extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, and exacerbated respiratory health diseases. The authors note that increasing climate literacy among the public health workforce is key for preparedness and that leaders and other officials need to understand climate projections and what it means for health so that we can more easily engage in the larger climate discussion.                Preparing Climate Change Podcast
Integrating climate considerations into public health practice will look different for health departments and communities in different parts of the country. It may mean more closely tracking climate and health indicators, incorporating the climate context into existing health risk communications so that the public can start to understand what to expect with more extreme weather events, or providing health data to decision makers so that the health costs and benefits are considered more in climate-related investments that are being made. The role of health departments will look differently depending on where they are and who they serve. In Oregon, for example, rural health departments are concerned about droughts and wildfires; whereas coastal health departments are concerned about rising sea levels, storms and flooding; and tribal health departments are concerned about the impact to their traditional foods and how changing weather patterns will affect livelihoods and mental health. 

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Preparing Climate Change Podcast

Elena Grossman, MPH

Elena Grossman, MPH, is the Program Director for the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects in Illinois (BRACE-Illinois) Project. BRACE-Illinois is a partnership between the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health to help prepare Illinois for the health effects from climate change. In her capacity as program director, she develops education and training tools on climate change and health; facilitates the strategic process for local health departments to address climate change; develops and manages the evaluation plan for BRACE-Illinois; researches the relationships between climate change and health as well as intervention and communication strategies to address them; and collaborates in developing and writing state reports on climate change and health. Elena holds a BA in Spanish and International Relations from Franklin & Marshall College, and an MPH in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a concentration in global health.

Preparing Climate Change Podcast

Emily York

Emily York leads the State of Oregon’s Climate and Health Program funded through the CDC. She chairs the Healthy Environments section of the Oregon Public Health Association and co-chairs the NW Climate and Health Network. She is an author of the Fourth US National Climate Assessment and the Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan. She has graduate degrees in public health and sustainability from Portland State University and undergraduate degrees in planning and visual communications from the University of Washington. Before joining the State, Emily led local policy initiatives at the City of Portland and worked with the Coalition for a Livable Future.