Public Health Response to a Changing Climate

Planet Earth

Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways. Learn what CDC is doing to prevent and adapt to the health effects of climate change.

The environmental consequences of climate change are happening now and are expected to increase in the future. Some of these changes will likely include:

  • heat waves,
  • heavy precipitation events and flooding,
  • droughts,
  • more intense hurricanes and storms,
  • sea level rise, and
  • air pollution.

Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location.CDC’s Climate and Health Program is the only HHS investment in climate change adaptation. Our Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative (CRSCI) is helping grantees from 16 states and two cities use the five-step Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to identify likely climate impacts in their communities, potential health effects associated with these impacts, and their most at-risk populations and locations. The BRACE framework then helps states develop and implement health adaptation plans and address gaps in critical public health functions and services.

Illustration: Map of CDC Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative. Currently funded states and cities include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachussetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The Climate and Health Program also funds two partners through the “Building Capacity of the Public Health System to Improve Population Health through National, Nonprofit Organizations” program managed by CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. These partners support tribes and territories’ climate and health work.

Specifically, the National Indian Health Board funds three tribes (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Village of Wainwright, and Blackfeet Nation) through the Climate-Ready Tribes Programexternal icon. In addition, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officialsexternal icon funds climate and health work in the US Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

For more information on the CRSCI or our work with tribes and territories, please contact our program at

Page last reviewed: July 18, 2018