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Written by Marc Nascarella, Meg Blanchet, and Kate Adams of the Bureau of Environmental Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) supports climate justice. The Department’s Bureau of Environment Health’s work specifically supports local climate adaptations for the most vulnerable in our communities.  A history of systemic injustices means that climate change hazards disproportionately affect high-minority low-income neighborhoods, which further results in disproportionate negative health consequences for these communities.

NPHW alternate imageThe initiatives and tools described below enable municipalities or individual residents to understand the impact of climate change on a community’s health and provide strategies to act on climate change threats to public health.

For over a decade, DPH has applied the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to incorporate science and equity into statewide climate initiatives and promote web-based resources that support local actions to protect public health from the effects of climate change:

  • DPH leverages evidence-based scienceto develop community-specific Climate-enhanced Community Profile(s) for each of Massachusetts’ 351 communities, providing locally-relevant climate data, and a Climate and Health Pathways website to provide awareness of climate hazards, vulnerable groups and health. Both websites provide a rich source of data to understand climate related threats to public health.
  • DPH improves health by coordinating with state and local agency partners to integrate public health into statewide climate initiatives, including promotion of our Climate Change and Public Health web pages that identify climate impacts on public health and recommended actions to protect those most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change. The DPH Bureau of Environmental Health has partnered with the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture as well as municipal and community-based organizations to strengthen its impact on addressing the health impacts of climate change and furthering environmental justice.
  • DPH acts by integrating climate and health considerations into community resources, such as toolkitsthat assist municipalities to identify grant funding for programs that help anticipate, prepare for, and respond to a range of climate sensitive health impacts. The toolkits are part of the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program (MVP) that provides strategies and tools for organizations or individuals to take concrete steps to address the public health threats of climate change and environmental justice.

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