219895 GIS-based climate change tool to identify vulnerability with implications on social equity

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adele Houghton, AIA, LEED AP , Adele Houghton Consulting, LLC, Austin, TX
Natasha Prudent, MPH , National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, GA
George Luber, PhD , National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, GA
Environmental Public Health Indicators (EPHIs) quantify direct and/or indirect links between environmental hazards, exposure, and health risk. As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt by local first-responder agencies, a health surveillance tool using climate-specific EPHIs downscaled to the local level is needed to provide the necessary level of geospatial precision to identify the public health co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation activities. An EPHI tool piloted in Austin, Travis County, Texas, combines environmental hazard, health, demographic, and policy data in a GIS viewer at the census block group scale to leverage the potential co-benefits of climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies. The regional scan of climate-related environmental hazards found that minorities and socioeconomically challenged populations are migrating out of the urban core to flood-prone areas; along major arterial roadways; and, away from sidewalks, bus stops, and many social services. These populations experience a higher risk than the population as a whole of injury, chronic disease, and mortality attributed to extreme heat events, flooding, and air pollution. An analysis of the spatial distribution of existing local mitigation and adaptation interventions concluded that activities such as tree planting and home weatherization correctly targeted a percentage, but not all, of census block areas with vulnerability risk. The pilot EPHI tool offers an evidence-based mechanism to analyze the public health co-benefits of local programs to vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Differentiate between the role of national, state-level, county-level, and census block group level EPHIs in climate change public health surveillance. 2. Describe the pilot EPHI tool used in Austin, Texas. 3. Discuss the social justice implications of the research results, which revealed areas with previously unidentified vulnerability to climate-related risk.

Keywords: Climate Change, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I coordinated development of the EPHI tool and background data sets.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.