One of my most exciting projects with PHAP is the OutsideIn SLO campaign, a partnership between and the San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Health Department and the California Department of Public Health. The campaign’s goal is to educate our community on the effects of climate change on human health—a topic I never dreamed I’d be able to work on when I entered PHAP. Through OutsideIn SLO, we educate residents on a range of topics, from sea level rise to extreme weather, and then connect these climate change events with their subsequent health impacts.
For example, SLO residents are very concerned about California’s drought, so we explain how the effects of climate change—like increases in extreme heat events and shifting precipitation patterns—could be affecting the drought’s severity. Then, we try to show the many ways this environmental occurrence affects our community’s health: reducing our food and water supplies, lowering our air quality (and aggravating asthma and allergies), and increasing the spread of diseases like valley fever. Overall, we’ve gotten a very positive response, with many requests for more information. I love helping my adopted community!