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Climate Change and California’s Local Public Health Agencies


 This paper presents the results from a survey of California’s local Health Officers conducted between August and October 2007.

The goal of the survey was to assess how large of a threat to public health climate change is perceived to be by local health officials, how prepared they believe they are to manage the risks, and what type of information and resources are likely to be needed to help their agencies cope with the risks. This survey was conducted as part of a larger study examining how prepared the state’s resource, public health, and infrastructure planning institutions are for managing the risks posed by climate change.

The survey found that local public health officials believe that climate change poses a significant threat to public health. The most often-cited concern is the potential increase in extreme heat, followed closely by water-related concerns.
The survey also found that local Health Officers generally feel ill-prepared, both in terms of available information and resources, to respond to the public health threats posed by climate change. The majority of respondents indicated that they would like to have more detailed information on the regional risks posed by climate change, followed closely by more guidance from the California Department of Public Health. In terms of resources, most respondents would like to have greater technical resources to prepare health impact analyses, followed by dedicated funding for climate activities.

Primary Toolkit:

Climate Change Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Adaptation, All-Hazards, Assessment, Climate, Environmental Health, Workforce Competency


Institutional Author:

Louise Wells Bedsworth with research support from Sarah Swanbeck





Five most recent user comments

2 Stars of 5 - Somewhat Useful
Tool Review
By Raymond Roe
Paper is relevant to the year that it was written.  Needs to be updated to fit today's media.

4 Stars of 5 - Very Useful
By Sandy Van Sant
was a survey of LHDs in 2007. I think the survey results are still valid today and could be helpful to formulate plans and other surveys. But I do not see how it is really a tool for use.

5 Stars of 5 - Extremely Useful
User-Friendly and Replicable
By Anonymous
This tool is very user-friendly and accessible. It can be easily replicated and is transferable nationwide.

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