Presentation:†† Public Healthís Response to Climate Change in Florida

Speaker:††††††††† Dr Sandra Whitehead, PhD



The Florida Department of Health, in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations, has developed a strategic plan to address the public health consequences of climate change. The methods used in Floridaís pilot program to educate and empower employees in this emerging area of public health can be used as a model for other states. The audience will be invited to give input on the methodology used, other strategies that can be employed and next steps to creating a five year staff development plan



Florida was one of the first states to create a state-wide plan to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. However, it gives little direction to address the resulting public health issues. Rising water sea levels associated with climate change will affect Florida profoundly, as water levels have already risen 8 inches in between 1900 and 2000. During this time, Floridaís coastal population has increased at an alarming rate. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Florida can expect an additional rise of between 8 and 30 inches in the next 100 years.††

Through a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers, the Department of Health has developed a strategic plan to educate its workforce about the public health consequences, to connect with community initiatives and to develop strategies to respond. This plan will be presented and audience members will be invited to provide comments and recommendations for the next step in this five year process.


Learning Objectives:


1.       Identify strategies public health officials can employ to assess the effects of climate change and appropriate responses.

2.       Demonstrate how Florida has developed a strategic plan to identify and measure the capacity of public health to respond to climate change.

3.       Explain how Florida's approach can be replicated in other states, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the methods employed.