Public Health and Climate Change: How Public Health Departments Can Help Prepare

Public Health and Climate Change:
How Public Health Departments Can Help Prepare

The Local Government Commission, through funding from the California Endowment, is hosting this webinar in partnership with the California Department of Public Health to provide local health departments, community health groups, and local governments information about how to respond to and prepare for the public health impacts of projected climate change.

According to California’s Climate Adaptation Strategy (2009), climate change threatens the health and well-being of all Californians through a variety of environmental changes including more severe extreme heat and other weather events, a decline in air quality, increases in allergenic plant pollen, more frequent wildfires, and altered environmental conditions that foster the spread of communicable and vector-borne diseases. Climate change also threatens the basic life support systems on which humans depend – our water, food, shelter and security. Among the segments of the population that are at greatest risk include the elderly, infants, individuals suffering from chronic heart or lung disease, persons with mental disabilities, the socially and/or economically disadvantaged, and those who work outdoors. The effects of climate change are already becoming evident in California, and we will witness more climate change in the coming decades due to the effects of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. Thus, in addition to efforts to reduce GHG emissions, development of public health climate adaptation strategies is imperative.

This webinar is focused on the public health impacts of projected climate changes and the role public health departments can play in responding to and preparing for those impacts. The webinar will feature Dr. Neil Maizlish from the California Department of Public Health who will provide an overview of climate change impacts on health, mechanisms for health departments to engage and respond, and a discussion on an upcoming initiative they are developing to provide resources to select health departments that can serve as a model for other counties. The webinar will also feature case studies of health departments in San Luis Obispo and Contra Costa counties who are engaging in adaptation discussions and working to integrate adaptation into their programs.

A recording of the webinar is available. Individual presentations are available on the agenda below.


2:00 pm Webinar Logistics and Overview

Kate Meis, Local Government Commission
Presentation (PDF)
2:05 pm Public Health and Adaptation Overview

Dr. Neil Maizlish, California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity
Presentation (PDF)

2:20 pm Case Study 1 – San Luis Obispo Public Health Department

Dr. Penny Borenstein, SLO County Health Officer
Presentation (PDF)

2:35 pm Case Study 2 – Contra Costa Public Health Department

Michael Kent, Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Ombudsman
Presentation (PDF)

2:50 pm Questions
3:15 pm Adjourn