Presentation:   Improving Public Health through Adapting to Climate Change and Performing Health Impact Assessments

Speaker:          Lynne Markus, MA, BS; Kristen Raab, MLA, MPH

                                                                                                                                  

Extreme heat and weather, vector-borne diseases, and vulnerable populations…how prepared is public health to respond to these aspects of climate change?  Learn about the Minnesota Department of Health’s efforts to prepare for and adapt to climate change and how the department is using health impact assessments to further public health and climate change adaptation and mitigation.  Hear an example of furthering public health through a health impact assessment of a Brownfield.

 

This presentation describes the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) response to building capacity to adapt to the public health impacts of climate change and to perform health impact assessments on projects and policies. The activities are being funded by two grants from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). 

 

The first part of the session will focus on the MDH’s project to improve the capacity of public health to respond to the impacts of climate change. The main topics to be covered include the following:

·         Results of a web-based survey of MDH staff.  The survey assessed staff’s current knowledge and attitudes regarding potential climate change impacts on public health.

·         Development of several web-based training modules for public health professionals to better understand and respond to climate change impacts on public health. The modules focus on the following areas:

o        Basic information on climate change and its effects on public health in Minnesota

o        Extreme heat and extreme weather

o        Vector-borne diseases (e.g., immigrating mosquitoes and ticks)

o        Vulnerable populations

·         The draft MDH strategic plan to address the public health impacts of climate change.

 

The second part of the session will focus on MDH building capacity to perform health impact assessments (HIA) in Minnesota. Two HIA trainings will be discussed.  Content of the trainings, including the HIA process, tools and lessons learned, will be reviewed.  Also, an example of a recently performed HIA on a Brownfield in the Twin Cities area will be described.  The example will further elucidate the process of implementing an HIA and possible outcomes.

 

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this Lecture Hall presentation, attendees will be able to:

1. Identify three potential public health impacts of climate change;

2. Identify how public health staff can prepare for adaptation to climate change; and

3. Examine health impact assessments, including process and tools