On March 13, 2017, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine and the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement jointly convened a 1-day public workshop in Washington, DC, to explore potential strategies for public health, environmental health, health care, and related stakeholders to help communities and regions address and mitigate the health effects of climate change. Specifically, as Lynn Goldman, vice chair of the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, stated in her introductory remarks, the workshop objectives were (1) to receive an overview of the health implications of climate change; (2) to explore mitigation/prevention and adaptation/resilience-building strategies deployed by different sectors at various levels (e.g., local, national) and in various regions of the United States; and (3) to discuss aspects of collaboration on climate and population health issues among community-based organizations, health care systems, businesses, and public health and other local government agencies, along with lessons learned. These objectives, Goldman explained, were to be sought within the context of considerations of health equity, economic viability, social acceptability, political palatability, and regional fit. She
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and the Proceedings of a Workshop has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
emphasized the “sharing” aim of the workshop and its “spirit of learning about best practices across the country.”
Both the workshop objectives and agenda were developed by an ad hoc committee (the Statement of Task is presented in Box 1-1). The workshop agenda is provided in Appendix B. Biographies of the speakers and moderators are provided in Appendix C.
As Goldman discussed in her welcome, since its first meeting in 1998, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine has addressed current and emerging issues in environmental health through discussions related to science, research gaps, and policy implications. The roundtable has held workshops on a range of issues of domestic and international importance, such as climate change, sustainable drinking water, ecosystem services, the health impact assessment of shale gas extraction, the science of obesogens, sustainable development, and data for environmental health decision making.
In his introductory remarks, George Isham, co-chair of the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, said that since February 2013, the roundtable has been providing a trusted venue for leaders from the public and private sectors to meet and discuss the leverage points and opportunities arising from changes in the social and political environment. The roundtable’s vision is of a strong, healthful, and productive society that
cultivates human capital and equal opportunity. This vision, Isham continued, rests on the recognition that outcomes such as improved life expectancy, quality of life, and health for all are shaped by interdependent social, economic, environmental, genetic, behavioral, and health care factors and will require robust national and community-based policies and dependable resources. Isham remarked that this workshop reflected the roundtable’s interest in the wide range of factors that impact human health.
The workshop was intended to provide an overview of the health implications of climate change, explore mitigation/prevention and adaptation/resilience-building strategies being implemented across the country, and discuss collaborative efforts on climate and population health issues. The workshop was not intended to describe or discuss in any detail the science of climate change, a topic of multiple consensus reports from the National Research Council, and from other expert sources (NRC, 2011, 2013; The Lancet, 2015).
Following introductory remarks by Goldman and Isham, Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association provided some further opening comments on the urgency of the issue. Keynote speaker Jonathan Patz then set the stage for the workshop with his presentation, “The Global Climate Crisis: Large Health Risks AND Opportunities.”
The remainder of the workshop was organized into four panels, with each panel focused on a specific geographic region of the United States: Panel 1 provided regional perspectives from the South, Panel 2 from the Midwest, Panel 3 from the Northeast, and Panel 4 from the West. Each panel included two to four panelist presentations, followed by a discussion with the audience.
As Isham mentioned during his welcome, it has been a custom of the roundtable to conclude its workshops with reflections on the day’s discussions. Thus, this workshop concluded with closing reflections by Sanne Magnan, Ray Baxter, and Frank Loy.
The organization of this summary parallels that of the workshop itself. Chapter 2, “Setting the Stage,” summarizes Benjamin’s opening remarks and Patz’s presentation. Chapter 3, “Regional Perspectives from the South,” summarizes the presentations and discussions that occurred during Panel 1. Chapter 4, “Regional Perspectives from the Midwest,” summarizes the Panel 2 presentations and discussion. Chapter 5, “Regional Perspectives from the Northeast,” presents the Panel 3 presentations and discussion; Chapter 6, “Regional Perspectives from the West,” the Panel 4 presentations and discussion; and Chapter 7, “Reflections on the Day,” summarizes closing remarks by Magnan, Baxter, and Loy and the open discussion that took place following their remarks.
This page intentionally left blank.