Climate Change and Health Program

Lead Organization: Rhode Island Department of Health

Program Name: Climate Change and Health Program

The Rhode Island Climate Change and Health Program primarily addresses community resilience, extreme heat, air quality and respiratory illnesses, flooding, sea level rise, and vector-borne diseases.  Vulnerable populations such as seniors, youth, outdoor workers, and residents in the urban core are the focus of the program’s work. The program’s main adaptation activities include extreme heat messaging to outdoor workers, Lyme disease outreach to local communities, and climate resiliency in the urban core communities. Strategic plans for both vector-borne disease and extreme heat have been developed.  Communications campaigns have also been used to spread awareness and provide guidance on personal protection against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, and extreme heat. The program has developed a climate change and health guide for Rhode Island residents in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. A focus of the program has been on community resiliency and supporting Rhode Island Health Equity Zones to adapt to climate change. The Health Equity Zones have focused their work on emergency preparedness and neighborhood flooding. The Senior Resiliency project focused on preparing long-term care and assisted living senior housing for possible climate-related health effects.  The project conducted resiliency audits and developed plans for emergency situations. A facility self-assessment tool was also developed to allow individual facilities to evaluate their resiliency and emergency preparedness.

Climate-Ready State funded since 2012.

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Page last reviewed: September 20, 2019