Public Health Institute Awards ‘Creating a Climate for Health’ Pilot Project Grants

Public Health Institute is pleased to announce the recipients of our Creating a Climate for Health pilot project grants, awarded through our Center for Climate Change and Health. These pilot projects, in three geographically diverse urban communities in California, will incorporate climate change into current public health practice and/or enhance public health participation in on-going local mitigation, adaptation, and resilience work to address climate change. Each grantee will receive $20,000 for 12 months to develop scalable, replicable models that simultaneously address climate change, community health and health equity.

Of the numerous excellent proposals submitted, we are delighted to have selected the following three:

Adapting More Equitably to Climate Change through Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration

Pacific Institute, with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and the Alameda County Public Health Department 

The impacts of climate change threaten to exacerbate existing race- and place-based health inequities in Alameda County. Low income communities and people of color stand to be disproportionately impacted by sea level rise – nearly 30% of the population in areas at highest risk of coastal flooding is low income. Poor households are more likely to suffer from heat-related illness because they cannot afford air conditioning. Many lack health insurance and, as renters, lack home insurance, making it much harder to recover from disasters such as flooding or wildfires.

The Pacific Institute will collaborate with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and the Alameda County Public Health Department to bring together agency and community stakeholders to shape adaptation planning in Alameda County. The goal is to demonstrate how impacted residents, community-based organizations, public health departments, and other agencies can collaborate to devise cross-cutting adaptation solutions that advance health equity while building community resilience to climate change.

San Diego Community Health and Climate Pilot Project

Environmental Health Coalition, with La Maestra Community Health Centers

This project focuses on the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights and National City, majority Latino communities with a combined population of approximately 132,500. Immigrants make up more than 45% of residents and also include large populations from east Africa, Vietnam and Cambodia. These communities are among the poorest in San Diego County, and many here have little formal education. Asthma-related emergency room visits indicate the severity of the health problems in these communities – rates for children’s ER visits due to asthma are 72% (City Heights) and 95% (National City) higher than the county as a whole.

The Environmental Health Coalition will collaborate with La Maestra Community Health Centers to develop a model for incorporating climate change into public health programs serving low-income communities of color in San Diego County. Goals of this project are to provide education about the links between climate change and health to La Maestra staff and patients and to secure policy and organizational change by involving La Maestra staff and patients in the Environmental Health Coalition’s advocacy efforts around the Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan for San Diego.

Inglewood Community Health and Climate Pilot Project

Social Justics Learning Institute, with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

The Social Justice Learning Institute will collaborate with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and others involved with the Healthy and Sustainable Inglewood Collaborative to develop a set of strategies to improve health equity outcomes with a focus on climate change mitigation. They will engage community residents and stakeholders in a community needs assessment, visioning, and strategy development to create a draft of the Health and Climate Action Plan that will be used to update the City of Inglewood’s general plan.

In the area of Los Angeles of which Inglewood is a part, 36.8% of adults are overweight, 24.6% die from diabetes, and 25% are diagnosed with hypertension or high cholesterol. Inglewood is surrounded by four major highways and the LA airport, causing significant upper respiratory problems among residents. Within the next five years, billions of dollars of development will occur within the city, offering the opportunity to inject a focus on improving health equity and climate change mitigation into public policy. Developing bike lanes and walkable sidewalks, planting trees and adding community gardens will help to mitigate CO2 emissions while making Inglewood a healthier place to live.

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