Climate Changes Health: Ensuring Environmental Justice Underlies Public Health’s Climate Change Work


Natalie Sampson - U-M Dearborn
Adrienne Hollis - WE ACT for Environmental Justice and George Washington University
Megan Latshaw - APHA Environment Section and Johns Hopkins University
Vernice Miller-Travis - Skeo
Paul Mohai - U-M School for Environment and Sustainability
Carmel Price - U-M Dearborn
Fatemeh Shafiei - Spelman College

Project Summary

Climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable and marginalized communities. Urgent response is needed to ensure that local climate planning efforts move to address these disparities, rather than perpetuate them, by drawing on local and expert public health knowledge. In response, this project will convene a summit preceding the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and draft a subsequent white paper addressing this question:
How can we prioritize the needs of marginalized and vulnerable communities in public health’s efforts to engage in cross-sector local climate planning?
The event will bring together environmental justice leaders and professionals from multiple disciplines, academic institutions, and professional organizations to hear stories; share approaches, data, and tools; network through roundtables; and participate in facilitated problem-solving. The approach is also designed to increase the participation of historically underrepresented students and community leaders from frontline communities to better address climate-related health disparities.
By bringing together local and scientific knowledge in public health, climate planning, and environmental justice, the project aims to:
  • enable a much needed synthesis across disciplines, sectors, and communities.
  • develop and promote and clear recommendations for the APHA, and other professional organizations and agencies, for better preparing its leaders as researchers, practitioners, and advocates in multisector local climate planning efforts in ways that reflect environmental justice principles; and
  • facilitate new and enhanced community-academic partnerships to advance climate-related health research.
This project received a $10,000 Catalyst Grant in 2017.